Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits – Homemade chocolate pudding is layered with freshly whipped cream and chopped strawberries
For Valentine’s Day, there’s no duo more iconic than strawberries and chocolate. If you’re looking for a fancy way to enjoy those flavors, these Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits are the way to do. I love these parfaits because the rich chocolate is slightly tamed by the whipped cream and juicy strawberries. Plus, they’re so freaking cute!
For these parfaits, the pudding is made entirely from scratch. There is nothing like homemade pudding. It’s thick and full of flavor that you just don’t get from the instant stuff. It’s also so incredibly easy to make so it always boggles my mind why we don’t make it from scratch more often.
Without further ado, let’s look at these parfaits a little closer, shall we??
Making the pudding
Homemade pudding is made by cooking eggs yolks with sugar, milk, and cornstarch. That’s it! Chocolate, salt, and vanilla extract are added to get the perfect chocolate flavor. Butter and cream are added at the end to produce a velvety texture and sheen.
You can’t just cook egg yolks or they will scramble. That’s why we slowly cook them over low heat so that they thicken perfectly into a creamy chocolate pudding. But before we even start cooking them, they’re whipped into the sugar to create a light and fluffy base before they get thickened up.
After the yolks are whipped, the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt are added. Hot milk is then slowly mixed in to temper the eggs. This means that the eggs slowly get warmed up so they don’t scramble by the shock of the heat. Once all the milk is added, the mixture is placed in a saucepan and heated over medium-low heat until it thickens up.
The pudding is cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated until chilled.
Layering the parfaits
Once the pudding is chilled, it’s time to make the whipped cream. All you need to do is whip heavy cream with sugar until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag to help layer it into the parfait glass neatly.
Decide how you want to layer the parfaits. I did just one layer of each but you can do two, if you’d like. Place the pudding in a piping bag, as well, and layer into the parfait dish. Spoon in the chopped strawberries.
Tips and Tricks
- Patience! The pudding takes time to thicken. Do not remove from heat until it’s thicken up perfectly.
- Low heat. The heat must be set to medium-low to prevent the pudding from curdling.
- Damage control. If you happen to curdle the pudding, you may be able to save it. First, whip vigorously with a whisk to remove lumps. If lumps still remain, push through a mesh sieve.
- Timing is everything. Do not make these parfaits too far ahead of time. The liquid in the strawberries will leak into the parfait and make it watery. You can make the layers ahead, however. Simply assemble a couple hours before serving.
- Chill before layering. Do not layer the parfaits until the pudding has chilled. Otherwise, the whipped cream will melt.
Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits
For the chocolate pudding:
- 2 cups milk
- 7 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the parfaits:
- 1 dry quart fresh strawberries diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Place milk in a large saucepan over medium low heat. While the milk is warming, place egg yolks and sugar in bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high with paddle attachment until mixture turns from yellow to very pale yellow. This will take about 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, keep an eye on the milk. Turn off heat once milk begins to steam and before it boils.
- Add cornstarch, cocoa, and salt to pale yellow egg yolks. Mix on low until combined. While the mixer is on low, very slowly add all of the hot milk. Place mixture back in saucepan and place over medium-low heat to thicken it. Make sure to constantly stir the mixture to ensure the mixture doesn't burn on the bottom.
- Once thick like pudding, removed from heat. Add butter, chopped chocolate, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until melted together. Finally, add heavy cream and whisk together. Let cool to room temp and then place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the pudding. Chill until cold, about 4 hours.
- Once the pudding is cold, prepare the whipped cream. Whip the heavy cream with ¼ cup granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Layer pudding, whipped cream, and chopped strawberries in parfait glasses. Use piping bags to help layer them neatly. You can do one layer of each or two layers. Serve immediately or place in refrigerator and serve within a couple hours.