32-3. Ladies Bridge Lunch: Parfaits are the Perfect Dessert

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Back in the 50s, ice cream and liqueur parfaits became quite the thing to serve at ladies bridge lunch and at dinner parties as well. Parfaits is #10 in my list of the 13 classics to serve at a retro ladies bridge lunch. 

They are so easy for one thing. So delicious for another. So endless the possibilities.  And they can be done ahead of time. It’s  not really cooking–just putting some ingredients together in parfait glasses (see note below about that).

  • You can do good vanilla ice cream (Breyer’s Vanilla Bean for instance) layered with almost any liqueur from low-priced coffee   to upscale name-brand Drambuie. But consider more sophisticated combinations . . .
  • Peach ice cream layered with whole raspberries or Framboise-flavored raspberry puree (strained and seedless!) for a Peach Melba Parfait.
  • Coffee ice cream layered with frozen then crushed Heath Bars and coffee liqueur.
  • Lemon sherbert layered with fresh watermelon cubes and some kind of fruity liqueur
  • Butter pecan icecream (my favorite brand is Edie’s), layered with toasted crushed pecans and your favorite non-fruity name-brand liqueur
  • I don’t happen to like mint ice cream–tastes like cold toothpaste to me–but for the many who do, a bottle of creme de menthe could be applied to either vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
  • My favorite when I can afford it is Frangelica (hazelnut liqueur) over dolce de leche ice cream (                         )

A fancy cookie to accompany the parfait is a nice touch, and if you don’t bake there’s always Pepperidge Farm’s  bags of excellent ready-made cookies.

Note: Choosing parfait glasses. I found 8 tall-ish narrow glasses at a yard sale decades ago and they have served me well over the years (but now down to only 7).  Narrow is good, so you can make ahead and store them in your freezer without taking up too much space. Remember, however, to remove them from the freezer 5 or 10 minutes before serving–too hard frozen ice cream doesn’taste as good as “warmer”ice cream, odd as that sounds. And of course the liqueur, being alcoholic, doesn’t freeze. .Edible anti-freeze you could say.





3 Responses to 32-3. Ladies Bridge Lunch: Parfaits are the Perfect Dessert

  1. Another possibility is a grown-up milkshake: Throw coffee ice cream and brandy into the blender, blend until smooth and pour into crystal water goblets.

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