Tangy lemon bread mixed with tart pastry filling and topped with silky whipped cream makes these light and fluffy lemon parfaits the ideal Springtime dessert.
Last week was a hot mess in our kitchen. We had a few recipes go wrong and ended up having to improvise. The mistakes resulted in our Perfect Lemon Pastry Filling and today’s parfaits. Originally, Kim had planned on making a sweet and tangy lemon cake for this post. However, the cake did not rise in the oven and what came out was a loaf of lemon bread. It was delicious but hardly what we had planned.
As we both stood in our kitchen, frustrated and tired, the ideas came pouring into our heads. We discussed some options but finally agreed upon the lemon pastry filling and these parfaits. While I worked on the stovetop making the lemon filling, Kim cleaned up the bread and neatly sliced it into small squares. She then made the whipped cream and prepped everything for constructing the dish.
While this dessert can be time-consuming, it’s definitely worth the effort. The bread is delicious and sweet, the pastry filling is creamy and tart, and the whipped cream is silky with hints of vanilla. The aroma of lemons fills your nostrils with every bite. It is a mouthful of Spring! In closing, I want to wish everyone love everlasting, long life, and a full belly.
How to Make Lemon Parfaits:
Ordinarily, I try to be as descriptive as possible when explaining how to make a dish. I am more than happy to do so when it comes to making the lemon bread and layering the parfaits. With that being said, I will only be placing instructions for the pastry filling and the whipped cream on the recipe card. The main reason is that both of these recipes have their own respective posts and have in-depth guidelines for preparation on their own pages. So, for detailed instructions on each, please click on these links: Homemade Whipped Cream and Perfect Lemon Pastry Filling.
Making the Bread:
Making the bread is not a complicated process; however, it does take a little patience and time. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray to ensure the bread comes out easily when done. Next, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl then set them aside for later. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with a stand mixer until it is light in color. The mixing usually takes about 3 minutes. Afterward, add the sugar to the butter and blend thoroughly for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. I recommend trying the mixture. No real reason, just because it tastes good.
The next step is to add the eggs and the lemon zest to the sugar and butter and blend everything together. Now it’s time to start adding the dry ingredients that you set aside earlier. Pouring very slowly, begin adding the dry ingredients to the mix while adding the buttermilk. You can alternate between the flour mixture and the buttermilk, adding small amounts at a time. Make sure to continue mixing everything as you add it together. All that is left to mix in is the lemon juice and yogurt or sour cream.
Once blended, pour the batter into a loaf pan and smooth it all out to ensure even cooking. Giving the pan a little shake before popping it into the oven wouldn’t hurt. Let the lemon bread cook for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. A simple trick to keep the top from overcooking and becoming brown is to place a foil tent over the pan for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. It doesn’t have to be secured to the pan, just loosely placed on top of the bread is fine.
Finishing the Bread and Building the Lemon Parfaits:
Since you don’t have to worry about the bread’s intact presentation, feel free to use the toothpick method to know if the bread is done. With the cooking completed, pull the loaf from the oven and place it on your stovet op. Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before attempting to transfer it to a cooling rack. The sides of the lemon loaf should pull away from the pan as it cools and that’s how you know it’s safe to remove it from the pan. Otherwise, the bread could tear during the removal process.
After the bread has cooled completely, begin slicing it into thick bread slices resembling Texas toast. Cut the slices into squares to make layering the parfaits easy. As you can see from our pictures, we started with the bread and then added a layer of pastry filling. Since the glass was nearly full, we just topped it off with whipped cream. However, if your glass is taller, go ahead with the layer of whipped cream, then repeat the bread/pastry filling/whipped cream layering process until the glass is full of tasty goodness. When serving the parfait, top it off with more whipped cream and serve with a spoon.
Light and Fluffy Lemon Parfaits
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
Lemon Pastry Filling
- 3/4 Cup of Cold Water
- 2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
- 2 Large Egg Yolks Beaten
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Zest
- 5 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon of Butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream butter in stand mixer until light in color. (about 3 minutes)
- Add the sugar to the butter and mix until fluffy. (about 2-3 addt. minutes)
- Add the eggs and lemon zest to the sugar and butter and mix to combine.
- Slowly add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two.
- Next add the lemon juice and yogurt or sour cream.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out to make a consistent layer.
- Place in oven and cook for 30-35 minutes. (Cooking times may vary depending on your oven.)
- Place a foil tent loosely over the bread during the last 15 minutes to ensure even browning.
- Remove bread from oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Lemon Pastry Filling
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cold water, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and egg yolks. Stir vigorously to mix the ingredients and stir occasionally as the filling cooks.
- After the filling begins to thicken and bubble, stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Let boil for approximately 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter.
- Allow filling to cool to room temperature, then strain to remove any scrambled egg yolks.
- Can be stored in sealed container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Makes 1 cup of pastry filling.
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and use a hand mixer or hand blender to whip until stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Other options are to use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a blender.
- Store unused whipped cream in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- In a small cocktail glass or martini glass, begin layering the parfait.
- Start with the bread on the bottom, then add a layer of pastry filling, then a layer of whipped cream.
- Repeat process until glass is full and whipped cream can be seen over the top of the glass rim.
- Serve with spoon and enjoy.
- Can be refrigerated, as-is, for up to 12 hours.