Friday, October 18, 2013

Cherry Cheesecake & Brownie Parfaits

What is it about canned cherry pie filling?!  I genuinely love the stuff.  I could eat it by the spoonful out of the can.  I think this is another one of those things that goes back to my childhood.  My mom wasn't a make-things-from-a-can kind of mom, which was awesome, but also resulted in making things like canned cherry pie filling weirdly special and delicious.  Mmm.  It's so perfectly thick and gooey.    

For this recipe, I was prepared to make homemade cherry pie filling (I even bought the cherries), assuming I might not be able to find the canned version, but lo and behold . . . And, I couldn't resist.   

So, there are two ways you can go with this lovely little dessert: semi-homemade or all the way homemade.  I've made both versions and both are scrumptious.

There are three parts to these parfaits: cherry pie filling, brownies, and cheesecake filling. 

You can easily throw these together by using a box brownie mix, Philadelphia cheesecake filling (comes in a tub all ready to go), and canned cherry pie filling.   

OR, if you're feeling up to the task, you can use the recipes below for homemade brownies and cheesecake filling.  I'm finding that I'm making more and more things from scratch because I'm never quite sure what I'll be able to find in the stores here.  Plus, I'm no health expert, but I'm pretty sure there are health benefits to eating less preservatives and chemicals that are found in boxed and ready-made foods.  Although, when we're talking brownies and cheesecake I often wonder if it matters?  ANYWAY, like I said, I still used canned pie filling on these, but I was looking at using this recipe in case I couldn't find it.  

I took these to a potluck the other night and they were a hit.  I used my favorite little IKEA juice glasses which made them a nice size.  Any bigger might be overdoing it.  Or not.  


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Line a 8x8 baking dish with foil or parchment paper and set aside.  

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until smooth.  

Pour in the whipping cream and start mixing on low speed (to avoid major whipped cream splatter).  

Increase the speed and whip the mixture until it is thick and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. 

Spread mixture in baking pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.  

Before assembling parfaits, remove cream cheese fill from pan and place on a cutting board. 

Place filling in the freezer for 20 minutes. 

Cut filling into small cubes in preparation for assembling parfaits.  

  • 10 tablespoons butter (5 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  

Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 baking pan with parchment or foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.  

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a double boiler or a bowl set over a small amount of boiling water. 

Stir until butter is melted and mixture is combined.  

Set the mixture aside until it cools slightly.  It will look gritty, but will become smooth once the other ingredients are added.  

Stir in the vanilla.  

Add the eggs one at a time stirring vigorously after each one.  

When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well-blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer.  Stir until well blended. 

Spread evenly in lined pan.  

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool completely on a rack.

Cut into small cubes in preparation for assembling parfaits.  


Alternate layers of brownies, cheesecake filling, and cherry pie filling in parfait glasses or other small juice glasses.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

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