Parfait Parfait: Peach Parfait with Graham Cracker Crumbs

Peach Parfait | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Peach Parfait | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Peach Parfait | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

We give each other a hard time in my family. Really. Nothing is off limits, and boy do we know how to push each others’ buttons. My sisters, for example, can get me more angry than anyone in the world. But the other side of this is that when we give each other compliments, it really is the most heartwarming thing. Getting a sincere compliment from my sisters or my parents is one of those things that gives me the warm and fuzzies. But back to the giving each other a hard time thing. My dad has all these -isms. These things he says and we give him quite a hard time for. I won’t share all of them here because he might kill me (if he happens to read this post), but one of my favorites that is relevant to this story is when he says, “You know, it wasn’t actually that hard.” This is almost always in reference to some intricate, fantastic dish he has cooked. It goes like this: either we are on the phone or sitting down to dinner, and he tells me all of the steps it took to make the dish in front of me or that he made for dinner last week. And then, no matter what I say, he follows it up with, “You know, it wasn’t actually that hard.”

When I was in Seattle last month, he and I were at the store shopping for dinner, and he mentioned he wanted to pick up whipping cream for leftovers of a dessert he had made a couple days before that, you guessed it, “wasn’t actually that hard.” I, of course, did not believe him. Especially when he claimed it was called a parfait parfait, which in his often jumbled speech, became farpait farpait. Imagine the two of us, wheeling our cart up and down the aisles of the store, giggling and spouting “farpait farpait” at each other – it was a sight. But we got home, ate dinner, and then were treated to this dessert. The sautéed fruit topped with salty, sweet, buttery graham cracker crumbles, and freshly whipped cream convinced me quickly that this dessert was worth whatever effort it required. It was so tasty that I made it for a dinner party last week to find that he was right: it really was one of the simplest desserts I’ve ever made. Did you hear that Dad? YOU WERE RIGHT.

The beauties of this recipe are two-fold. First, it can be easily adapted with whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. In the coming weeks, I’ll be making it with plums, then apples, then maybe even some grapefruit wedges, rhubarb, berries, you get the idea. Second, having this graham cracker crumb on hand, I’ve found is both tempting and useful. Being able to just sauté some fruit and whip some cream and voila, dessert, is pretty great. Plus it isn’t so bad sprinkling a tiny bit on my morning yogurt, fruit, and granola either.

Parfait Parfait

Serves 4-6 | Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crumbs

5 graham crackers, broken
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Sautéed Peaches

2-3 peaches, cut into wedges (or about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 sprigs thyme
2 Tbsp (or just a nice nub really) butter
Freshly whipped cream for serving (I like to make mine with a splash of vanilla and few pinches of granulated sugar)

Instructions

Graham Cracker Crumbs

Preheat oven to 325°. In a food processor, combine the graham crackers, flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse until it’s pretty finely ground. Transfer to a mixing bowl and pour in the melted butter. Mix with your hands or a spatula until all of the dry graham cracker mixture is thoroughly coated with butter – no dry spots! You’ll want a few larger chunks, but mostly a sandy texture. Spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, tossing carefully half way through (you don’t want those crumbs all over the bottom of your oven). Set aside to cool.

Sautéed Peaches

While the crumb is cooking, or cooling, however your timing works out, put the peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, and thyme sprigs in a mixing bowl, tossing to combine and evenly coat the peaches with sugar. In a large pan (preferably with higher sides) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the peaches and cook, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved and peaches are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs.

Serve in bowls with a scoop of peaches, the graham cracker crumbs, and freshly whipped cream, if you’ve got it.

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