Best Pudding, Parfait and Panna Cotta Recipes for Summer Desserts

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Ice cream is the first thing that comes to mind for many of us when we crave the cool and refreshing desserts of summer. And while I love it (and have written extensively about it, along with developing multiple recipes!), this dessert is just the tip of the iceberg. Sorbet and granita are on top of the table, too, but let’s not forget a few other options that don’t even need a freezer: parfaits, pudding, and panna cotta.

The best summer fruit belongs in this crunchy, buttery crumble

This trio often, but not always, contains dairy. They have great potential for advancement if you dip your toes again in getting people after vaccination. They can be layered or decorated for maximum visual appeal yet still maintain a simple elegance. If these qualities seem worthwhile to you, take a look at these ideas from our archives:

Balsamic Berry Parfait, above. The short ingredient list means they can all really shine in this colorful and attractive dessert. Choose fresh local berries and balsamic vinegar (preferably older) that you like best, then dip and enjoy the flavor combination when paired with lightly sweetened ricotta cheese.

White panna cotta with passion fruit sauce. I think passion fruit is woefully underutilized on the American side, so try it in this easy-to-assemble riff on Italian dessert. The acidity of the fruit goes well with the creamy sweetness of panna cotta, which contains gelatin.

Passion fruit is the MVP tropical sour ingredient that will brighten your plate

Yogurt panna cotta with berry sauce. Here’s another panna cotta, which is lighter in texture and calories thanks to the use of Greek yogurt. For a similar option, check out Yogurt Panna Cotta With Champagne Apricots. Yogurt is a refreshing alternative to the yogurt in the Double-Strawberry Buttermilk Panna Cotta.

Browse the Recipe Finder for over 9,400 recipes that were subsequently tested.

Lemon pudding with raspberry whipped cream. Lemon and raspberry are a lovely summer flavor. Lemon pudding and berry compote can be made in advance, although you’ll want to stop eating the whipped cream even just before serving.

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Bavarian Cream Parfait. This recipe has a few extra ingredients, but two of them — cranberry compote and caramelized banana puree — are optional. Feel free to add more seasonal berries to the topping, or use your own ideas to add a selection of crumbled cookies, pudding, and fresh or freeze-dried fruit. Just a little whipped cream? This also works.

Banana pudding parfaits. Embrace the nostalgia with this signature dish of Nella chips. For extra flair, you can whip up the top of the pudding or use banana slices dipped in brown sugar. Want another difference? Don’t miss the banana pudding cups.

Butterscotch Reese’s Pudding. Butterscotch pudding is another possibility with an old-fashioned allure. Top it with dessert sauce and whipped cream.

Berry Cloud Chia Pudding. Chia seeds help set this dairy-free, no-cook pudding made with strawberries, raspberries, or both. Cocoa lovers, don’t miss Cacao Chia Pudding.

Do you have a fork and a freezer? Here are 6 granita recipes, the simplest summer refresher.

8 Recipes to Satisfy Ice Cream Lovers: Wine or Fruity, Uncured, Vegan

Ice cream and frozen desserts to prepare when you can’t buy an ice cream machine

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