Frozen strawberry parfait

This frozen strawberry parfait is a creamy and indulgent dessert that you can experiment with by adding all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours.

It’s super easy to make, needing just a spot of mixing. And as there’s very little added sugar, it can be quite healthy, depending on whether you’re pro-low-fat (use low fat greek yoghurt) or pro-high fat, like the paleo diet crowd. I used crème fraîche because, well, it’s delicious.

I made the strawberry parfait again this summer (2017) after being invited to speak on BBC Suffolk in celebration of National Strawberry Parfait Day (!). It seemed only fitting to revisit this delectable dessert.

This time, I added a good helping of black pepper to the mix. It might sound like a crazy idea, but I’d heard tales of Granddad Mac, the original McPYO here in Boxted, having eaten his strawberries with a dash of pepper. So I figured there must be something to it.

The first hurdle was not knowing how much to add; the original author, Mary-Ellen McTague, is delightfully vague with her guidance at times, and so I just kept adding, tasting, and hoping I’d not overdone it. It’s hard when you’re not sure what you’re aiming for, but I assumed – much like its sibling seasoning, salt – the idea is to enhance the other flavours, rather than be a distinct taste in itself.

The result was subtle yet delightful. The peppery edge cut through the creamy fruit, livening up what could otherwise be quite a simple affair. Mary-Ellen also suggests trying vanilla or rosewater, and decorating with pistachios and white chocolate. We thought basil or mint would also be a great variation.

The first time I made this recipe (see pictures below), I followed the author’s recommendation of lining the dish with clingfilm. This time (pictures above), I made a simple liner from baking parchment. The parchment made it very easy to remove and serve, but also a bit wibbly along the sides. Note that I only made half the quantity this time round, hence the size variation in these pictures.

Serves four to six people.

Frozen strawberry parfait


  • 300g-400g strawberries, halved or quartered if large fruit
  • Apx 30g caster sugar – about 10% of the weight of prepared strawberries
  • Apx 500ml lightly whipped cream, or thick yoghurt, or crème fraÎche
  • Flavouring:
    • seeds from ½ vanilla pod, or
    • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper, or
    • 1 tsp rosewater
  • Optional: toasted pistachios and / or white chocolate shards, to finish


  1. First, macerate the strawberries. Sprinkle the berries with caster sugar , stir gently to avoid bruising the fruit.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, making sure you keep the juice that seeps out of the strawberries, which is full of flavour.
  3. Put the strawberries in a bowl, then add twice the amount by volume of the diary of your choice (I did this in a measuring jug to be sure).
  4. Mash or puree the two together. For a smoother dessert, push the mixture through a sieve.
  5. Stir in your flavouring of choice until well combined.
  6. Line a dish or terrine mould with either baking parchment, cut to shape, or clingfilm (tip: dampen the dish first, then press the clingfilm into place with a dry tea towel).
  7. Fill the dish with the parfait mix, packing it in firmly, then freeze until solid (I left it to freeze overnight).
  8. Turn out the parfait onto a chilled plate, about 10 mins before serving, to make it easier to cut.
  9. Decorate with strawberries, or scatter with  pistachios and/or white chocolate. Slice to serve.

Frozen strawberry parfait recipe

Slice of frozen strawberry parfait

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