Budget Berry Parfait

This recipe was created as a result of unexpected guests turning up one summer’s night, several years ago. It was so simple and delicious, I have been making it, or variations of it, ever since. It never fails to please, with the sharpness of the berries complementing the lush mascarpone cream. It can be made with fresh or frozen berries, or a combination of both, and I sometimes top it with a crumbled biscuit for crunch. The martini glasses came from an Op Shop for $1 each and when I want to be fancy I pipe the cream into the glasses. They can be assembled well before guests arrive, and left in the fridge, just requiring that last crumble of biscuit to serve.

Time: 20 minutes (excluding maceration of the berries)

Serves: 4


  • 250g frozen raspberries or mixed berries
  • 1 heaped tablespoon pure icing sugar or caster sugar
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup pouring/thin cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or essence
  • 12 fresh raspberries whole or 4 strawberries sliced
  • 1 granita or shortbread biscuit (optional)


Place the frozen berries in a bowl and sieve over the sugar. Stir the sugar through the bowls and cover with cling film. Leave to macerate out of the fridge for two hours or, if using the next day, in the fridge overnight.

Combine the mascarpone, cream and vanilla in a bowl and lightly whisk. Spoon alternating layers of berries and mascarpone (two levels of each, starting with berries and finishing with mascarpone cream).  Top with fresh berries and drizzle over the macerating juice.

Place in fridge until ready to serve. Crumble a biscuit over the top, if using.


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