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Lemon Berry Parfaits

4.5 stars based on 3 votes

Lemon berry parfaits 4

Fresh berries are delicious on their own but if you’re looking for a way to dress them up, elegant parfaits are the way to go. Here, I’ve layered them with a luscious lemon cream – essentially a lemon curd lightened with whipped cream – to brighten their natural sweetness.

Lemon berry parfaits

Begin by making the lemon cream. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice.

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Next, set up your double boiler. You need it for this recipe so that the eggs don’t curdle. If you don’t have a double boiler you can make your own; simply place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Just make sure the hot water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.

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Melt the butter, then add the lemon mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a metal spoon.

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Stir in the lemon zest and chill in refrigerator.

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In the meantime, whip the cream to firm peaks. You’ll know it’s ready when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and the peaks stand up and hold their shape without drooping over.  Keep a close eye on it; if the cream gets grainy, you’ve gone too far and should start over.

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Gently fold the chilled lemon mixture into the whipped cream, retaining as much volume as possible. To do this, use a rubber spatula to cut down into the center of the cream and sweep up the side of the bowl, scooping up cream from the bottom and bringing it to the top. This motion gently turns the mixtures over on top of each other, combining them in the process.

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Finally, assemble the parfaits. Spoon a handful of berries into each parfait glass and top with a generous dollop of lemon cream. Spoon in more berries and another layer of cream. Chill until ready to serve. (The parfaits can be assembled up to this point several hours ahead of time.) Right before serving, top each parfait with a cookie and sprig of fresh mint.

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Keep in mind that this dessert is only as good as the berries you make it with. I like to use a combination of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries but only if they’re all sweet and juicy. Enjoy!

Lemon Berry Parfaits

Servings: 4-6, depending on the size of your parfait glasses


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 3 large lemons
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (see note below)
  • 1 cup whipping cream, chilled
  • 5 cups assorted fresh berries (if using strawberries, cut into bite-size pieces)
  • A few springs fresh mint, for garnish
  • 4-6 shortbread or ginger cookies (optional)


  1. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat well. Add the sugar and lemon juice and whisk until sugar is mostly dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Fill the bottom of a double boiler pan with an inch of water. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low. Melt the butter in the top of double boiler. Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick enough to coat a metal spoon, about 10 minutes. (If you get any bits of cooked egg, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove.) Stir in the lemon zest and pour into a shallow bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  3. Pour the chilled whipping cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until the cream holds firm peaks (when you lift the whisk or beaters out of the bowl, the peak should hold its shape without drooping; if the cream looks grainy, you’ve gone too far and should start over). Be sure the lemon mixture is completely cool; then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold it into the whipped cream.
  4. Place a large spoonful of berries into each glass (leave room for 2 layers of berries and 2 layers of cream) and top with a generous dollop of lemon cream. Top with another layer of berries and lemon cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. (Parfaits can be assembled up to this point several hours ahead of time.) Right before serving, top each parfait with a shortbread cookie and sprig of fresh mint.
  5. Note: Anytime a recipe calls for lemon juice and lemon zest, be sure to zest the lemon before squeezing out the juice.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 461
  • Fat: 23g
  • Saturated fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrates: 64g
  • Sugar: 55g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Sodium: 55mg
  • Cholesterol: 177mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    These were wonderful — easy to make, love the lemony flavor and the combination of berries, and a big hit for a backyard get-together.

    - Rust on May 17, 2017 Reply
  • I did this last weekend and they came out great. For a healthier turn on the recipe since I cannot have fatty foods I substituted the heavy cream for yoghurt a bit of gelatin and was just perfect!

    - Carla Cerqueira on May 6, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I love this recipe! The flavors are fantastic, and it’s a great way to enjoy some fruit. I have a question though. When I fold the lemon curd into my whipping cream, my lemon whipping cream is soupy and won’t hold together. I make sure to beat my whipping cream until it has stiff peaks. What do you think I am doing wrong?

    - Nina on November 13, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Nina, It sounds like your lemon curd might not be thick enough or cold enough. Are you cooking it until it coats the spoon and chilling it well?

      - Jenn on November 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Really enjoyed this recipe! The lemon custard took about 20-25minutes to thicken with my small double boiler. This was my first time making a parfait, was super happy with how it turned out. Everyone at the table loved how light and refreshing this dish tasted.

    - Rosaleen on July 20, 2014 Reply
  • Would it be possible to substitute the fresh berries with a blueberry compote? Or would the compote be too heavy and sink into the lemon curd?

    - Raquel on June 18, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Raquel, The lemon curd is pretty light since it’s mixed with whipped cream; I do think the compote would sink into it. Sorry!

      - Jenn on June 19, 2014 Reply
  • can you make these with yoghurt instead of cream?

    - Maya on May 17, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Maya, It may be a bit tart with the lemon and the yogurt but if you sweeten the yogurt enough it should work.

      - Jenn on May 18, 2014 Reply
  • I bought some lemon curd at the store for another recipe. Could I just use this with the recipe? How much lemon curd would I use with the one cup whipped cream?

    - Janet on April 14, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Janet, That would work fine. I’m not sure how much it would be though; I’ve never measured. Maybe start with one cup and add more to taste.

      - Jenn on April 16, 2014 Reply
  • Great idea for a light summer dessert! I’ve done something similar in a large crystal bowl and layered mousse with fruit and whipped cream! It makes a beauitful dessert and it’s delicious! I can’t wait to try the lemon cream!

    - Kristen on June 24, 2012 Reply
  • Really delicious. I made this for dessert for a casual dinner with my husband on the back deck. We both loved how rich, yet light, the lemon cream was. It took me about 205minutes to get the lemon mixture to thicken on the stove, but maybe my bowl was too thick.

    - Jennifer on May 31, 2012 Reply
  • Love love love this combo of ingredients. I am soooo “pinning” this recipe…

    - Elizabeth C. in Kansas on May 19, 2012 Reply
  • Visually appealing, easy, tasty,delicious…need I say more?

    - Bob Smith on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • These were so easy to make and a hit at my last brunch party!

    - Amanda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • this is so simple and so elegant! thank you for sharing this and have a great day:)

    - blackbookkitchendiaries on August 16, 2011 Reply
  • Love lemon curd! what a great idea lemon curd, whipped cream and fresh berries…yum! .. thanks for sharing.

    - estherpalermo on August 15, 2011 Reply

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