Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 21, 2012 06:38 PM

Parfaits...can they be assembled ahead of time?

I'm making a strawberry shortcake parfaits with Nutella for a potluck. I've never made parfaits before, and am making individual servings for the guests. How far in advanced can I assemble the parfaits? I'll be making fresh whipped cream for the parfaits. Thanks for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could probably store the parfaits in the refrigerator overnight, if not longer.

    1. I recently made a trifle-ish desert. Chunks of white cake, various fruits, pudding, and homemade whipped cream. I made it the night before and it was great when served. Leftovers the following day were pretty good but by day three the cake started took on an unpleasant texture. You should be just fine preparing it a day in advance.

      1. There are parfaits and there are parfaits. Some include ice cream and cannot be made ahead. Others do not, so maybe you can. You mention using fresh whipped cream. You can make fresh whipped cream ahead of time BUT...!!! You must STABILIZE it if you want it to hold up. You stabilize whipped cream by adding some dissolved Knox gelatin. There are other methods for stabilizing whipping cream, such as using corn starch, but gelatin is the classic method. Here's a recipe: And just because the picture shows piped whipping cream does not mean you must pipe it. You can flop it in a "dollop" or layer it with cake cubes a la English Trifle or leave it in the bowl overnight (covered with a damp cloth) and use it by the spoonful the next day.

        The great and wonderful advantage to stabilized whipping cream (and I've been using this recipe for decades!) is that it TASTES like whipped cream, which cannot be said for Dream Whip and the like. Have fun! Send pictures!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          plain whipped cream will hold overnight in the fridge quite well. you can assemble the dishes ahead of time and then just put the whipped cream on before serving.

          not sure what you mean by "parfaits" sounds like layered strawberry shortcake in a tall glass of some sort? don't include whipped cream in the do-ahead layers. the strawberry juice will break it down.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I've not had your luck holding whipped cream overnight. Who knows why? Climates where we live? Brand of whipping cream? Pasturized vs super pasturized? Overnight just never has worked well for me.

            1. re: Caroline1

              it needs to be whipped very stiffly. i haven't had any variable issues with different brands.

              it usually holds a couple days. after 3, it needs to be fluffed up a bit. that's it. no issues and i hate hate hate that gelatin texture in the "stabilized" stuff.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I do creme Chantilly (SOFT PEAKS). For me, there's too fine a line between firm peaks (American whipped cream) and butter. Properly stabilized whipped cream should NOT have a texture that dissimilar to non-stabilized. But... To each her own! '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  it's the mouthfeel of the gelatin that disagrees with me.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    i've found that i can stabilize the whipped cream by sweetening it with powdered sugar, which has some corn starch in it. It doesn't get a wierd mouthfeel, and it doesn't weep for quite some time. And I beat it to stiffish peaks too!

        2. Thanks, all.
          I made the parfaits the night before. Added some pastry cream as another layer in addition to layers of whipped cream, strawberries, Nutella, and pound cake. The result was quite nice, and it was the hit of the party.

          4 Replies
            1. re: attran99

              What you are talking about are trifles, not parfaits, the difference being that trifles have cakey layers, while parfaits do not. A trifle is a cousin to a charlotte.

              1. re: greygarious

                And a trifle tastes better when it's refrigerated overnight.

                1. re: greygarious

                  There was also a time when a parfait wasn't a parfait if it didn't have ice cream or some other frozen concoction -- sherbet, sorbait, granita, whatever -- in it. I miss those day! <sigh>