I served up two desserts on Christmas day and this Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait was one of them. Everyone enjoyed it so much I made it again when we had friends round a few days later and finished it off with my parents last night.

If you love celebrating cherry season as much as I do try these Cherry Pistachio CupcakesBlack Forest Brownies or this Easy Baked Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce

An ice cream parfait on a white plate with one slice cut off

Aside from tasting beautiful, this ice cream parfait looks beautiful. Serve it in elegant slices or as an ice cream sandwich. It’s make ahead, no churn, no bake. Beautiful simplicity at it’s best.

Yes friends, you heard correctly – this is no churn ice cream at it’s best. The chocolate portion of this Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait is the smoothest, creamiest chocolate ice cream I have ever had. To be able to have a super chocolatey, super creamy chocolate ice cream without any churning at all is such a treat.

An ice cream parfait on a white plate with one slice cut off

What is parfait?

There are 2 main types of parfait – the Americana and the French. French parfait (which in french means ‘perfect’) is basically a mixture of ice cream, eggs and sugar that is then frozen. Frozen custard – aka ice cream – without the need for any special ice cream machine.

This Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait truly is perfect in my eyes because, hey…

  • It’s beautiful
  • Feeds a crowd (or one for dessert for days)
  • Easy, no churn ice cream
  • No special equipment needed
  • Make it ahead of time – waaay ahead if you like
  • Perfect served at a dinner party or as a fun ice cream sandwich dessert

That last point is how I served it at Christmas. Elegant for the adults, in bowls strewn with fresh cherries and chocolate and fun for the kiddies sandwiched between two wafer biscuits with the edges dipped in sprinkles and pop rocks. I may possibly have added pop rocks to my elegant adult, bowl version. Just sayin’.

A slice of pink and brown parfait on a white plate with a cherry on top

How to make parfait

This is the fun part because it’s super simple. There’s obviously no baking in this dessert but there is also no churning. One base custard is made and split into 2 bowls, with the different flavours added. I added melted chocolate to one and a reduced cherry puree to the other.

Making the cherry puree for the ice cream

The cherry puree takes a little time but not a lot of effort and you could just stir through jam if you prefer. It starts by simmering some fresh (pitted) or frozen cherries with sugar and water, then blitz it with an immersion blender or in a regular blender until you have a thick puree. Cook it down and strain the juice from the solids and you have the cherry puree ready to go.

Lining the tin

I like to line my tin using separate pieces of baking paper folded to suit the shape of the tin. This way you don’t get any crease marks in the parfait at the end. Cut two pieces of paper the exact width of the end of your parfait tin and about twice the height. Fold them in the middle then sit one at either end of the tin.

Two images showing the lining of a loaf tin

Now cut a second piece the exact length of your tin and about 4 times the height. Push it into the tin, so the sides are even height and make a little crease where it sits at the bottom corners. Take it out, fold it at those creases and push it back into the tin. Now you have a perfectly lined parfait tin. My medium loaf tin is perfect for this parfait. It has straight sides and sharp corners and holds a capacity of approximately 6 cups.

Making the parfait base

The base of the parfait is very similar to many ice creams with one difference – the cream is whipped.

Mixing the custard base for ice cream

Start by heating the milk and vanilla in a saucepan just until it’s steaming – don’t boil it. Now beat together the egg yolks and sugar. Very slowly drizzle the hot milk into the yolks while continuing to beat. I use my basic handheld beater but a stand mixer will allow you to have one hand free.

Once it’s all combined, return it to the stove over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you run a finger across it horizontally the line should hold, like the picture above.

Putting it all together

A collage showing mixing the chocolate ice creamA collage showing the mixing of cherry ice cream

Pour half of the custard over each of your flavourings – cherry puree and melted chocolate – and mix them well. In a separate bowl, whip the cold cream and fold half of it through each of the custards. Pour the chocolate custard into your lined tin and freeze for half an hour, before topping with the cherry custard.

This is best left to set in the freezer overnight. I serve it up with fresh cherries, roughly chopped chocolate, some of the leftover caramelised almonds from my Rustic Almond Plum Tart and a little of the reserved cherry puree squeezed over the top.

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A layered ice cream loaf on a white plate covered in chocolate and cherries

You seriously can’t beat this Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait for it’s combination of flavour, simplicity and beauty. All those in a dessert that can be made weeks in advance and served elegantly or in a totally fun ice cream sandwich. This is as good as it gets people.

Other recipes you’ll love 

This Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait recipe is a layered no churn ice cream parfait. Layers of cherry ice cream and chocolate ice cream, combine into a smooth and creamy, easy dessert.

Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait

4.75 from 4 votes
This Frozen Cherry Chocolate Parfait recipe is a layered no churn ice cream parfait. Layers of cherry ice cream and chocolate ice cream, combine into a smooth and creamy, easy dessert.
Make this dessert at least a day ahead. It will store well in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Ingredients

  • 350  ml thickened (heavy / whipping) cream, cold (11.8 floz)
  • 400 g pitted cherries (fresh or frozen) (14oz)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water (notes)
  • 125  dark (50%) chocolate, coarsely chopped (4.4oz)
  • 1 cup whole (full cream) milk (250ml / 4.2floz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • large egg yolks
  • ½ cup  granulated sugar (100g / 3.5oz)

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Pour the cream into a bowl and place it in the fridge. Line a medium loaf tin with baking paper as neatly as possible (see notes for tips).
  • Place the pitted cherries, sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring regularly. After about 5 minutes the juice should be nearly covering the cherries - at this point use an immersion blender (or transfer it to a blender) to puree the cherries. 
  • Return the purée to the saucepan and continue simmering and regularly stirring for around 15 minutes until very thick and coating the back of a spoon. If you drag it from the side of the pan it should take around 2 seconds to spread back to the edge.
  • Push the purée through a strainer into a clean bowl. Set the juice aside to cool completely. The leftover pulp can be used like jam on a slice of toast or discarded.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring very well between each, until just melted. This should take no longer than 2 minutes. Set aside to cool a little.
  • Heat the milk and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat until steaming. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until very light and creamy, then slowly drizzle the steaming milk in while still beating. Once all the milk is added, return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly for around 5-6 minutes until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of the cherry juice into a bowl and mix with half of the custard mixture (set any remaining juice aside in the fridge). Mix the other half of the custard with the melted chocolate. Combine completely.
  • Whip the cream to soft peaks, then gently fold half of it through the chocolate custard and half through the cherry custard. Place the cherry custard in the fridge to keep cold and pour the chocolate custard into the prepared loaf tin. Place in the freezer to set for half an hour. Pour the cherry custard over the top of the chocolate and freeze until set.
  • Serve with reserved cherry juice, fresh cherries, and chocolate shavings

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. Make sure not to boil the milk or the custard mixture. Always heat over low heat until it matches the consistency in the instructions.
How to line the parfait tin. I like to line my tin using separate pieces of baking paper folded to suit the shape of the tin. This way you don’t get any crease marks in the parfait at the end. Cut two pieces of paper the exact width of the end of your parfait tin and about twice the height. Fold them in the middle then sit one at either end of the tin.
Now cut a second piece the exact length of your tin and about 4 times the height. Push it into the tin, so the sides are even height and make a little crease where it sits at the bottom corners. Take it out, fold it at those creases and push it back into the tin. Now you have a perfectly lined parfait tin. My medium loaf tin is perfect for this parfait. It has straight sides and sharp corners and holds a capacity of approximately 6 cups.
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