Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits… & a Cooking Class – GF

Every once in awhile, amazing opportunities fall upon us completely and totally unexpectedly. Every once in awhile, others see potential and talent in you that you fail to see in yourself. Every once in awhile, if you open your mind and take a big step out of your comfort zone, wonderful things will happen.

A week and a half ago, out of the blue, a coworker approached me and asked me if I had ever considered teaching a cooking class. I was a little shocked. The thought had never crossed my mind, and I was humbled that the thought had crossed hers. We chatted a bit about what she envisioned this experience to look like, and I agreed to do it before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.

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The cooking class would be a central part of an awesome girl’s 18th birthday party where I would guide Anna and her friends through preparing dinner and dessert. I asked Kristi, my coworker and Anna’s mom, to look through my blog posts and see if anything stood out or sounded good. They decided (wisely, I might add) on Oven-Roasted Peruvian Chicken and Veggies… a great way to feed a lot of people and a perfect meal for beginners. Plus, this is a super budget-friendly and healthy meal, ideal for soon-to-be college students who are incredibly active and on-the-go.

They let me run wild with dessert inspiration, and I decided it would be fun if each girl got to prepare their own individual creation. I thought about my Single-Serve Apple Crisp or my Melty Chocolate Lava Cakes for 2, but I ended up steering clear of those because they would require each girl have their own ramekin. I didn’t imagine most people had 6-8 ramekins lying around their house… I sure don’t. In the end, I came up with the idea to do a layered parfait-style dessert where we could create each of the components and then personalize how they were built. Cheesecake is always a winner, so why not deconstruct cheesecake into parfaits with graham cracker crumbs, homemade lemon curd, and fresh berries? Kristi and Anna loved the idea, so that is what we went with.

I have to say, I am so thankful that I stepped out of my comfort zone and said YES. These girls were absolutely a blast to hang out with. They were genuine and eager to learn and took interest in what we were doing, why we were doing it, and asked questions along the way. The kitchen was full of laughter and teasing and memories being made for all of us. Their excitement was contagious as we cut and chopped all the veggies and the aroma of the Peruvian spice rub began to fill the kitchen. They knew they were less than an hour away from a delicious dinner. We even made a (successful!) vegetarian version. Total win with this one all around!

 

 

While dinner cooked away in the oven, we prepared all of the different components for the Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits. I did have to make the lemon curd in advance to allow it plenty of time to cool and rest in the refrigerator before we needed to use it. In the end, we made No-Bake Cheesecake filling and homemade whipped cream, then added in graham cracker crumbs mixed with butter and sugar, fresh berries, and the lemon curd. Each girl built their parfait the way they wanted to, and it was absolutely perfect. They had fun and taste-tested everything along the way.

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I really can’t say enough how awesome these girls are!

When I told my family what dessert we were making for the cooking class and they told me how good it sounded, I ended up making a batch of everything to have for our dessert at home that night. Sooo glad I did, haha! I haven’t had cheesecake, which used to be my all-time favorite dessert, since my Celiac diagnosis… by leaving the graham cracker crumbs out, I had my very own gluten-free cheesecake creation and it was simply TO. DIE. FOR. My taste buds were ecstatic. Thank God for Lactaid, though, seriously! This was rich and decadent in a way that only dairy can be. Totally worth it.

Long story short(ish)… I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach a cooking class and meet some awesome girls and share my love of cooking and all things food with them. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

For those of you who are just here for the recipe, your wait is over. 🙂

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Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Homemade Lemon Curd

Zest of 1 Meyer Lemon

1 ½ C sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

4 large eggs

½ C fresh lemon juice, squeezed from 2-3 Meyer lemons

1 tsp vanilla extract

Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the Meyer lemon. Place the lemon peel/zest and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the peel is finely diced.
  2. Add butter and pulse till well-blended.
  3. Add eggs, fresh lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Pulse until mostly smooth and transfer to a medium saucepan.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Continue stirring once the mixture has thickened for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, then transfer to a large Mason jar.
  6. Refrigerate to cool completely before using; store unused lemon curd in the refrigerator.

No-Bake Cheesecake Filling

1 C heavy whipping cream

2 8-oz blocks of cream cheese, softened to room temperature

¾ – 1 C powdered sugar, depending on your sweetness preference, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer with the whisk attachment, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks forms. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until well-combined.
  3. Fold the whipped cream gently into the cream cheese mixture using a spatula until fully incorporated.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Homemade Whipped Cream

2 C heavy whipping cream

1 C powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer with the whisk attachment, beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, followed by the vanilla, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

*Tip: At high altitudes, homemade whipped cream does not maintain its fluffy volume after extended periods of time. I recommend making the whipped cream immediately before you’re ready to use it.*

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Homemade lemon curd

No-Bake Cheesecake Filling

Fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Graham cracker crumbs (leave out for gluten-free option)

Homemade whipped cream, for topping

  1. In an 8-ounce juice glass, layer graham cracker crumbs, no-bake cheesecake filling, lemon curd, and fresh raspberries in any order you like until glass if mostly fall. Top with homemade whipped cream and an additional fresh raspberry. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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I would love to connect with you- find me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram for more gluten-free goodness!

Kristi and Anna- thank you for a wonderful opportunity!!! It was a pleasure and I cannot express my gratitude enough!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I will see you back later this week for Loaded Carne Asada Sweet Potato Fries and Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Banana Bread Breakfast Bars… so good. You don’t want to miss these recipes, friends. Much love! xoxo

2 thoughts on “Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Parfaits… & a Cooking Class – GF

  1. Kristi Andrews says:

    Having sampled all the yumminess along the way, I must agree the chicken and dessert were fantastic! I think you have many more cooking classes in your future.

    Like

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