Key Lime Pie-Inspired Parfait

Before we dive into the deep-end of pumpkin spice and falling leaves, I thought it might be fun to share a key lime pie-inspired parfait to celebrate the last few weeks of summer. The key lime filling is just a little bit tart, the sweetened whipped cream balances everything out, and the crumbs provide a texture contrast. I don’t like the ratio of 80% tart lime to 20% whipped cream that characterize most key lime pie recipes, so I doubled the amount of whipped cream layered into this parfait. If you’ve never made whipped cream from scratch before, please try it. It is so much tastier than the stuff you buy in a can. I didn’t use key limes for this recipe because I couldn’t find them. I used regular limes which work perfectly, but if you are able to find key limes, by all means, use them. They supply a lovely tart flavor and then you can authentically call your dessert a key lime pie parfait. Another benefit, the parfaits can be assembled several hours ahead of time, and kept refrigerated until ready to be served. 

Key Lime Pie-Inspired Parfait

Serves: 9 parfaits

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • Zest of 1 lime (If you prefer a filling that is more tart, you can use the zest of 2 limes)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 2-3 limes)
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I like to make my own by pulsing whole graham crackers in a food processor. That way, there’s more texture to the crumb mixture.)
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 lime sliced and cut into quarters, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and lime zest and juice at med-high speed until smooth. Move cream cheese mixture to a separate bowl and wipe out the bowl of the stand mixer.
  2. Pour the cold heavy cream into the bowl of the stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat at high speed. Gradually add in ½ cup sugar and the vanilla. Beat until the mixture thickens to desired consistency. I beat the whipped cream past the point of soft peaks so that it does not become watery in the parfait. If you go too far and your whipped cream turns into butter, just add a few more tablespoons of heavy cream and the mixture will return to a light, fluffy state. 
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon until combined.
  4. Layer the parfaits: Place 2 tablespoons of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each glass. Then divide half of the cream cheese mixture among the parfait glasses along with 1 ½ cups of whipped cream. Repeat the process of 2 tablespoons graham cracker mixture, the remaining cream cheese, and the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with remaining graham cracker mixture and a wedge of lime. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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