I could say that I made these to showcase local seasonal produce, but that’s only about 5% of the truth.
95% of the truth is that while these do showcase local seasonal produce, you’ll see me in the check-out in the middle of December clutching my $13.99/pint blueberries from Chile in order to make these. Carbon footprint, shmarbon footprint… these are so stellar, I won’t even feel bad about it.
When I see the word ‘streusel,’ a little *ding* goes off in my head followed by a ‘you should make that.’ Same thing with the word ‘cream,’ and other foods I adore. So when I saw this in Fine Cooking last month, here is what it sounded like in my head: ‘Blueberry *ding* Pie Parfaits *ding* with Almond *ding* Streusel *ding* and White Chocolate Lemon *ding* Cream *ding.* A six-dinger doesn’t come down the pike all that often, but when it does (and it’s usually dessert), I have to do something about it.
So let’s talk about why these deconstructed pies are so awesome, aside from the obvious title. They have three parts: the filling, the streusel, and the cream (the Holy Trinity?). The streusel takes the place of crust. Pie crust doesn’t do it for me, though I also admit I’m a little intimidated by it. I’ll make a pie with a traditional crust before the end of the year, I promise, and then I’ll be able to give the pie crust a fair shake. But if given the option, I’m picking a shortbread or graham cracker crust and/or streusel topping every time over a traditional pie crust.
The blueberry mixture has the clean flavor of a fruit crisp with the satiny thickness of pie filling because you smash some of the blueberries, let cornstarch thicken their juices, and then mix in some butter (*ding*) to give it that perfect mouthfeel.
The white chocolate lemon cream is, indeed, as awesome as it sounds. I would’t cry too hard if white chocolate became extinct, but it does add a little extra sweetness and texture to the lemon cream, so use it if you have it. Otherwise, sweetening the lemon cream with a little powdered sugar would work well. My white chocolate lemon cream had lots of ‘texture’ because I actually whipped it into white chocolate lemon butter. Oops. Still perfect.
Although the title is a mouthful, the three parts come together in a flash, and then they’re just layered in cool glasses, parfait-style. I love parfaits because the layers are pretty, and you can savor your own glass as slowly as you want without worrying that your spouse is going to eat it all if you don’t inhale what is rightfully yours before he does. Everyone gets to eat their own piece of heaven at their own pace.
I might try this with peaches. I might try it with apples. I might need a twelve-step program to break my new addiction to deconstructed pie. 🙂
- ⅔ c AP flour
- ½ c + 1 T old-fashioned oats
- 6 T cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ c slivered almonds
- ¼ c packed light brown sugar
- ¼ c granulated sugar
- ¼ t kosher salt
- 4½ oz white chocolate, finely chopped (I used white chocolate chips)
- 1 c heavy cream
- 1½ t grated and finely chopped lemon zest plus ½ t lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 c (1¼ lb) fresh blueberries
- 6 T granulated sugar
- 4 t cornstarch
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 T cold, unsalted butter
- ½ t fresh lemon juice
- To make the streusel: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, oats, butter, almonds, sugars and salt on medium speed until the ingredients are evenly distributed and some of the pieces of streusel are the size of hazelnuts. Transfer the streusel to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring every 5-6 minutes, until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the streusel cool completely before using.
- To make the cream: Put 3 oz of the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ c of the cream and the lemon zest to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes , then whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and salt, cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. One mixture has chilled, add the remaining ½ c cream and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
- To make the filling: Put the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium heat. Using a potato masher, break up some of the berried to release their juice and cook, stirring often, until the mixture begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture comes to a boil, stir constantly, reducing the heat to maintain a steady simmer, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice until melted. Let the filling cool until warm.
- To assemble the parfaits: Put 1 T of the streusel in the bottom of each of six 10-oz parfait (or wine) glasses. Divide half of the warm filling among them and scatter each with about 2 T of streusel. Divide the remaining filling among the glasses and top with the remaining streusel. Dollop each with about 2 T of white chocolate-lemon cream, sprinkle with the remaining white chocolate, and serve.