By Angela Denstad Stigeler
When it comes to the Fourth of July holiday, it seems we all like to declare a little dining independence as we wander away from the conventional indoor sit-down dinner. This year, as you head outdoors with your meal, take a little something special in your picnic basket. My pared-down parfait recipe takes only moments to prepare and packs up neatly in four individual servings. Half-pint canning jars, complete with their own lids, stand in for the traditional stemware and lend casual chic to this light dessert. Layering fruit and filling in fourths ensures every bite is well-balanced. Featuring fresh red and blue berries, the stars of the season, and stripes of the luscious cream filling makes them a fitting tribute to the flag they resemble and reminds us of the sweet freedoms brought forth by the founding of our nation. So end your meal with this berry bang and have a Happy July 4th!
Fourth of July Picnic Parfaits
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup heavy cream
4 half-pint jars with lids
Carefully rinse the berries and combine them in a bowl. Set aside a few berries for garnish, then sprinkle the rest with 2 tablespoons sugar and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and the cream and continue to whip until smooth and thick, another 2-3 minutes.
Place 1-2 tablespoons berries in the bottom of each half-pint jar, then top with about 1½ tablespoons of the cream mixture, spreading it out to the sides. Top with another layer of berries, then cream and continue layering into the jars, dividing the mixtures evenly among the four jars, ending with a dollop of cream on top. Garnish with the reserved berries, screw the lids on the jars and pack upright in a picnic basket or refrigerate until needed.