This Creamy Lemon Ricotta Cherry Parfait is a 10-minute mini dessert. It's sweetened with honey, flavoured with lemon and almond and layered with fresh or frozen cherries. Gluten-free and refined sugar-free.
If you been a reader of mine for a while, you'll know that I like to post recipes that are quick and easy with interesting flavours. You'll also know that I love making mini desserts! This Creamy Lemon Ricotta Cherry Parfait fits that description to a T.
❤️Why this recipe works
You can prepare this cherry parfait in less than 10 minutes! It's a creamy, smooth, light and refreshing little jar of deliciousness with a touch of lemon and almond. Need a last-minute dessert? Here's your answer.
And did I mention cherries? Fresh, sweet, just-picked juicy cherries put this tiny dessert over the top!
Quick, naturally sweetened with honey and flavoured with almonds, this easy-to-make Cherry Parfait is a tasty way to celebrate cherry season!
👍🏼Cherries are bursting with nutrition
Besides being a good source of Vitamin C, one cup of this stone fruit has as much potassium as a banana, helping to balance our blood pressure. Cherries are also rich in beta carotene and contain quercetin which can lower inflammation and help fight cancer.
Did you know that as cherries darken, they produce even more antioxidants? While they have impressive health benefits, we simply like to eat them fresh as snacks while they're in season.
You'll find more recipe ideas for using fresh or frozen cherries in this post:
Here's your short shopping list.
- ricotta cheese: full-fat ricotta will give the creamiest results in this mini dessert.
- honey: or substitute a 0-calorie sweetener like Lacanto Monkfruit with erythitol.
- lemon: enhances the flavour of the cherries and adds a bright flavour.
- almond extract: optional, but almond flavours work well with cherries.
- cherries: fresh or frozen and thawed.
- flaked almonds: for garnish and a little crunch.
All you'll need to make this ricotta cherry parfait is a blender.
Purée ricotta cheese, honey, lemon zest and almond extract in a blender until smooth and creamy. Blending it will remove the grainy texture of ricotta. You'll be left with soft, velvety cream. Now all you have to do is choose a cute little dessert dish and create layers of cherries and cream!
Toast sliced almonds in a single layer in the oven at 350°F. for 3 - 4 minutes. Watch carefully as they will burn easily. You can also use a toaster oven or even a skillet to toast them. Toasting brings out their flavour and makes a big difference! Don't skip this step. It only takes a few minutes and it's worth it!
Start with a base of the ricotta cream, then add a few sliced, pitted cherries, then repeat the layers. Sprinkle with a few toasted flaked almonds, then add a fresh cherry on top. That's it!
I like to flavour this refined sugar-free dessert with a touch of almond extract and top it with a few flaked toasted almonds for a little crunch. Cherries and almonds complement one another. They're a pairing that just works!
While fresh cherries will have the best flavour and texture, you can use frozen cherries in this cherry parfait. You'll need to thaw them first, then drain thoroughly so they don't make the parfait runny.
Yes! You can make it up to a day ahead. Store it in the jars or dessert dishes you plan to serve it in, cover and refrigerate. Add a fresh cherry to the top just before serving.
There are several methods that others have tried, including poking a chopstick through the stem end, or slicing the cherry in half and removing the pit with your fingers or a paring knife. However, I've found the easiest way ever!
Find an old fork that you don't care about (or get one at a thrift store). It should be of poor quality, so it bends easily. Using pliers, bend the out two tines forward, folding them so they lie flat against the base of the fork. Next, slightly bend the tips of the center two tines so they are bent at a 90° angle. To use, plunge the bent tips through the stem end of the cherry and pop out the pit! Easy-peasy.
🔁 Possible Variations
No cherries? No worries. Try this mini dessert with fresh berries. It's delicious with raspberries and blueberries, too! Many berries would pair better with vanilla flavouring instead of almond extract, so feel free to substitute.
Make a Greek yogurt parfait! You can also make this dessert with firm Greek yogurt instead of ricotta cheese. Add a little granola on top and you have a healthy breakfast!
🗒 More gluten-free dessert recipes to try
This recipe has been updated with new information to make it more helpful. The recipe remains the same.
10-minute Creamy Lemon Ricotta Cherry Parfait
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest finely grated
- 2 - 3 drops pure almond extract
- ½ cup cherries pitted, slice (or berries)
- 1 tablespoon flaked almonds or other nuts, toasted
- Toast sliced almonds in a single layer in the oven at 350°F. for 3 - 4 minutes. Watch carefully as they will burn easily. You can also use a toaster oven or even a skillet to toast them. Toasting brings out their flavour and makes a big difference! Don't skip this step. It only takes a few minutes and it's worth it!
- Place all ingredients except cherries and almonds in a blender and process until smooth. Blending it will remove the grainy texture of ricotta. You'll be left with a soft velvety cream.
- Alternate layers of ricotta cream with fresh cherries (or berries) in small dessert glasses and refrigerate.
- Garnish with toasted almonds and additional cherries or berries before serving.
Chef Markus Mueller
These parfaits look absolutely divine! I have always wanted to grow my own cherries, but unfortunately don't have the room for a cherry tree..so I have to buy my cherries. They aren't the cheapest, which is why I hardly ever buy them...but man o man, this looks good! I could eat this for breakfast!!
Leanne | Crumb Top Baking
I'm all about the cherries this time of year Elaine! This look delicious!
Flavour & Savour
Cherries are here for such a short time! I like to use them in as many different ways as I can while they're available. We're heading out to pick more at a farm tomorrow. 🙂
I love the simplicity of this recipe - so quick to make but so full of flavour! Love that there's no refined sugar in this too.
Honey, cherries, almonds???? Some of my favorite things! Can't wait to try this. Your photos, as always, are gorgeous!
Flavour & Savour
Thanks so much, Jo! It’s so easy and so good! Hope you get a chance to try it soon!
Denise from Urb'n'Spice
I love mini desserts, Elaine! This quick Creamy Lemon Ricotta Cherry Parfait is perfect for an individual portion. Your little glass containers are adorable (I think I have a few of the same ones). I agree that cherries and almonds are a perfect pairing - I am excited to try your recipes with the cherries that I have in my refrigerator. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Flavour & Savour
Thanks so much, Denise. I'm sure you'll love it as much as we do. Yup--love those mini desserts!