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Parfait samples by pinguino in Osaka, Japan.jpg
Layered American parfait models in Osaka, Japan
Place of origin France
Main ingredients Sugar syrup, eggs, cream
Cookbook: Parfait  Media: Parfait
Jelly of quail, langoustine cream, parfait of foie gras

Parfait (/pɑːrˈf/; [paʁfɛ] from French meaning "perfect") refers to two types of frozen dessert; in France, where the dish originated, parfait is made by boiling cream, egg, sugar and syrup to create a custard-like puree which is not necessarily served in a parfait glass. The American version includes more ingredients like granola, nuts, yogurt, liqueurs and gelatin desserts made in combination with a topping of fruits or whipped cream that are layered and served in a tall glass.[1][2] The oldest known recipe dates back to 1894.[3]


In France, parfait refers to a frozen dessert made from a base of sugar syrup, egg, and cream. A parfait contains enough fat, sugar, alcohol, and/or, to a lesser extent, air to allow it to be made by stirring infrequently while freezing, making it possible to create in a home kitchen without specialist equipment. The fat, sugar, alcohol or air interferes with the formation of water crystals, which would otherwise give the ice cream an uncomfortable texture in the mouth. The formation of ice crystals is managed in the making of regular ice cream by agitating the ice cream constantly while it freezes or chemically by adding glycerol. Neither should be necessary when making a high-quality parfait.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, parfait can refer to a very smooth meat paste (or pâté), usually made from liver (chicken or duck) and sweetened with liqueurs.[4]

United States[edit]

In the United States, parfait refers to either the traditional French-style dessert or to a popular variant, the American parfait, made by layering parfait cream, ice cream, and/or flavored gelatins in a tall, clear glass, and topping the creation with whipped cream, fresh or canned fruit, and/or liqueurs.

Recent trends introduced parfaits made by layering yogurt with granola, nuts or fresh fruits, such as peaches, strawberries, or blueberries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Parfait". 
  2. ^ "Parfait definition". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  4. ^ Recipe by Barney Desmazery. "Velvety duck liver parfait recipe - Recipes". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 2011-11-24.