Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sour Cherry Yogurt Parfait

I love Greek food, particularly simple dishes that are perfectly prepared using top ingredients. My favorite Greek restaurant is nothing flashy--it's a small, intimate place in lower Manhattan called Pylos. The word 'pylos' translates as 'things of clay', like the clay jugs that were an integral part of ancient Hellenic life, and the ceiling at Pylos is made up of hundreds of clay pots (of a more recent vintage). The desserts at Pylos are nothing fancy, and therein lies their charm. One of my favorites is a simple parfait composed of Greek yogurt, sour cherry preserves, honey and walnuts. I've adapted their version of this dessert by adding some whipped cream to the yogurt, making it a little lighter on the palate. This makes a great summer dessert and comes together in a flash. It can also be made several hours ahead.

Sour Cherry Yogurt Parfait

Makes 4 servings

2/3 cup walnuts
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2 percent)
3/4 cup sour cherry preserves
3 tablespoons honey

1. Put the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, tossing them frequently, until they are toasted and fragrant. Let cool completely.
2. Whip the cream to medium peaks. Gently fold in the yogurt.
3. Spoon about 6 tablespoons (a little more than 1/3 cup) of the yogurt mixture into a serving glass. Top with about 1 1/2 tablespoons cherry preserves and drizzle with about 1 teaspoon honey. Sprinkle a few walnuts on top. Repeat layering once again to finish parfait. Repeat to make 3 more parfaits. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.