Oatmeal and Fresh Berry Parfaits with Chantilly Cream from 'Treme'

Oatmeal and Fresh Berry Parfaits with Chantilly Cream from 'Treme'

[Photograph: Ed Anderson]

Parfaits are not my usual choice when it comes to dessert, despite my penchant for sweets made primarily with berries and cream. Something about layering everything in a tall glass strikes me as fussy. But that's not a good enough reason to miss this parfait from the new Treme cookbook. Two components make this particular parfait stand out. First, it uses creamy-chewy steel cut oats as an anchor point. The hearty oats are laced with brown sugar and butter, but not so much that you couldn't get away with eating them for breakfast. Second, the remaining layers of berries and whipped cream operate in total contrast to the wholesome oats—they're full of booze.

Why I picked this recipe: At this point in the summer, any new way to pair berries with whipped cream is a good thing.

What worked: Everything was on point in this simple dessert. Also, bonus points for eating whole grains! You can even eat it for (boozy) breakfast!

What didn't: No problems at all.

Suggested tweaks: You could use any fruit you'd like in place of the berries. Stone fruits would work especially well. The liqueur pairings are also flexible; pick from what you've already got on your bar. Use something sweet on the fruit, and perhaps something drier in the whipped cream (I used creme de cassis in the berries and dark rum in the cream).

[Photograph: Ed Anderson]

Reprinted with permission from Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans by Lolis Eric Elie. Copyright 2013. Published by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

  • Yield:Serves 6
  • Active time: 35 minutes
  • Total time:2 1/2 hours


  • 6 cups fresh blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries, or a combination
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fruit liqueur such as pear brandy, elderflower liqueur, or orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal, preferably steel-cut
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed light or dark brown sugar
  • Chantilly Cream
  • 1 quart heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. 1.

    About 2 hours before assembling the parfaits for serving, if using strawberries, stem them and cut into pieces about the same size as the other berries. Put all the berries in a medium glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel bowl. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and liqueur and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the sweetened liqueur to the berries and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the berries are well coated with the syrup, being careful not to break up the berries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, stirring very gently about every 45 minutes with the spatula.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, cook the oatmeal according to the package directions. Then cover and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

  3. 3.

    Just before assembling the parfaits, gently rewarm the oatmeal over low heat; thin with a little water, if needed. (It shouldn’t be too hot, or it will melt the Chantilly cream.) Add the butter and brown sugar and stir to mix well. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

  4. 4.

    Also just before assembling, make the cream: In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, sour cream, liqueur, and vanilla. Whisking by hand or using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the mixture just until soft peaks form, 5 to 10 minutes if beating by hand or about 3 minutes if using an electric mixer.

  5. 5.

    To assemble the parfaits, layer in each glass 2 tablespoons oatmeal, then 2 tablespoons drained berries, then 2 tablespoons Chantilly cream, then another 2 tablespoons oatmeal. Top with more berries, dividing them evenly, and end with 1 tablespoon Chantilly cream on top of parfait with a few more berries for garnish. Serve at once, with long-handled spoons.