National Parfait Day is on November 25 every year, and we will be celebrating it by having a tall glass of parfait dessert with cherry and butterscotch toppings. Did you know the parfait recipe first appeared in an 1890s French cookbook? Parfait, meaning “perfect” in English, is a dessert of French origin consisting of cream, egg, sugar, and syrup. These basic ingredients are boiled together to create a custard-like puree. This is different from the American parfait, which contains granola, nuts, yogurt, and liqueurs, with fruits or whipped cream toppings. Parfait is usually served in tall clear glassware, with a long spoon called a ‘parfait spoon.’
History of National Parfait Day
The history of parfait can be traced to the invention of a popular dish, dessert, which has become part of the traditional three-course meal. The word ‘dessert’ is derived from the French word ‘desservir,’ meaning ‘to clear the table’ in English. Its origin began with — you guessed it right — sugar.
In the Middle Ages, sugar was a rare product in Europe and was only enjoyed by the rich and the aristocrats on special occasions. From that period to the late 15th century, refined sugar served as a sweetener and seasoner, sprinkled on stew and roasted meat. The dessert itself was fruit, gingerbread, sugared almonds, and jelly. Sometimes cookies, marzipan, or meringues were served as dessert.
As time progressed, sweetening meals with sugar lost its appeal, and focus was placed on visual presentation. Chefs began crafting elaborate sculptures, entirely made of sugar, which served at the centerpiece of the dessert course. Examples of such sugary sculptures included the severed head of Louis XV and the rock of Gibraltar. However, this custom ended with the French Revolution in the 16th century.
The industrial revolution transformed dessert from a meal for the elite to something easily accessible to the masses. It was in this period that parfait emerged. One of the first parfait recipes dates back to the 1890s in France. As French culture spread outside its borders, European countries and the Americas adopted what was fashionable, including the parfait dessert.
The French parfait was expanded, and ingredients such as yogurt, nuts, fresh fruits, and granola were used in making it. This version of parfait, termed American parfait, spread across the country and became the most dominant. Over the years, different variations were created, and now, parfait has come to occupy a space in the American dessert culture.
National Parfait Day timeline
Before dessert, as we know it today, the aristocrats eat fruits after meals.
Chefs craft elaborate sugar sculptures to serve as the centerpiece during dessert.
After the French Revolution, individual desserts replace the fruit course.
The oldest known parfait recipe is discovered in France.
National Parfait Day FAQs
Who invented parfait?
We can’t say who invented parfait. But what we know is that it first appeared in France in the 1890s and has since become a part of the European and American dessert culture.
Are parfaits healthy?
Yogurt parfaits, also known as American parfaits, contain rich amounts of nutrients, such as protein, fiber, fats, and natural sugar, that provide needed energy for the brain and the body. A glass of parfait could refresh, after a long day at work, or be an energy boost to continue working during the day.
How do you make yogurt parfaits?
A yogurt parfait takes only five to 10 minutes to prepare: You need two cups of vanilla yogurt, eight blackberries, one cup of granola, and a tall clear glass. Start with one cup of yogurt as the first layer, followed by half cup of granola and four blackberries. Repeat to create a second set of layers.
How to Celebrate National Parfait Day
Make a parfait
Within five to 10 minutes, you can make yourself a glass of parfait, without breaking a sweat. The basic ingredients are granola, yogurt, and your favorite fruit — blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries. You can play around with the recipe or check online for a recipe you would like to replicate.
Go out for a parfait
Reward yourself for a long week at work with a parfait. Check Google or any other business listing websites for the nearest restaurant that serves parfaits. You can choose to go traditional by having a French parfait, patriotic with an American parfait, or adventurous with some other countries'.
Throw a parfait party
The party does not necessarily have to be loud: you can have a gathering of friends and neighbors, each bringing a different bowl of a parfait.
5 Mind-blowing Facts About Dessert You Didn’t Know
The most expensive dessert
The Frozen Haute Chocolate ice cream sundae is the most expensive dessert, at $25,000.
The most missed item in space
According to NASA, ice cream is the most missed item by astronauts in space.
The cupcake dispenser
There is a machine at Beverly Hills that dispenses cupcakes.
Gold spoons for ice cream tasting
Ice cream testers use gold spoons to taste the dessert for 100% original taste.
The world’s biggest chocolate bar
Armenia’s Grand Candy Company holds the record for making the world’s biggest chocolate bar, weighing 9702 lbs.
Why We Love National Parfait Day
Every culture has its parfait tradition
Various countries across Europe, the Americas, and Asia have different recipes for the parfait. In the U.K., it refers to a very smooth meat paste, and the French boil egg, cream, and sugar syrup together to create the traditional parfait dish. Americans and Canadians make a parfait by layering parfait cream and ice cream, and serving it in a tall, transparent glass.
Parfait can be healthy
While some parfaits contain a high sugar that may be unhealthy, the parfait recipe is flexible enough to allow healthy iterations. If you love parfait and want to minimize your sugar consumption, or you’re on a vegan diet, you can go for a banana blueberry yogurt parfait, berry granola parfait, and apple pie parfait. There are many other healthy parfait recipes out there. You only need to search.
National Parfait Day is fun and tasty
What’s better than spending the day with friends and family having glasses of frozen, luscious layers of parfait? There are several fun ways to spend your day on National Parfait Day: you can go on a parfait date, try out that vegan parfait recipe, or host a parfait party.
National Parfait Day dates