I don’t know about you, but I get my cooking inspiration from any number of sources: fresh produce; a craving; a recipe I saw in a magazine.But my inspiration for today’s food column came from a pretty, footed dessert dish I bought last month. The dish has a red base, and I knew it would be so pretty for a Valentine’s dessert (and a photo for my food column!)
I thought of all kinds of sweets I could serve in my pretty dessert bowl: chocolate mousse; banana pudding; an ice cream sundae topped with strawberries; a brownie sundae. There are so many options!
But I decided to go with a cream cheese and cherry dessert and turn it into a parfait of sorts. And here’s where I decided to think outside the box, or outside the pie crust in this case.
I used my recipe for no-bake cherry cheesecake but didn’t spoon it into a graham cracker pie crust. Instead, I crumbled that pie crust (you could use graham crackers if you prefer) and sprinkled some crumbs in the bottom of my dessert dish. Then I put a layer of cream cheese mixture on top and added some cherry pie filing. I repeated with more pie crust crumbs and a smaller dollop of cream cheese mixture. Then I topped it with a spoonful of the cherries and placed it in the refrigerator to chill.
The end result was so pretty and delicious! I love fancy desserts for special occasions, and Valentine’s is one of my favorite times to splurge in the kitchen and to make an especially nice presentation for the dining room table.
We sampled the dessert after photos were taken last night. I filled two of the dessert bowls with the cherry cream cheese layers. For her dessert, my daughter had warmed hot fudge sauce instead of cherries. I didn’t get a chance to sample that one, but I can only imagine how good it was!
My dessert dishes hold a lot of dessert. I only ate half of my serving; my husband ate the other half. How perfect, I thought, dessert to share for Valentine’s Day!
I bought six of these pretty bowls with different color bases. So stay tuned. I’ll be coming up with something new to put in the blue bowls next!
Cherry Cheesecake Parfait
- 8 oz. cream cheese (I use the lower fat, neufchatel)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 8 oz. tub lite whipped topping
- Graham cracker crust, crumbled (or graham crackers, crumbled)
- 1 can cherry pie filling (I use the lite version)
If making a layered dessert or parfait, sprinkle crust crumbles into individual dishes. Add a layer of cream cheese mixture followed by cherries. For the second layer, sprinkle more crumbs and add a smaller dollop of cream cheese mixture and a spoonful of cherries. Refrigerate, allowing several hours to chill.
The number of servings will vary depending on the size of your dessert dishes, but expect to serve at least 6.
If you'd rather serve as a pie, spoon cream cheese mixture into graham cracker crust and top with cherries.