Creamy and tart with bright fresh flavors, this simple dessert of strawberries with lemon coconut cream can be assembled ahead of time.
When it comes to entertaining there are two things I’ve come to learn: keep the menu simple and make as much ahead of time as possible. These two things keep me sane and make receiving guests as effortless as possible.
When it comes to dessert during the spring and summer months, there’s nothing simpler than pairing fresh fruit with cream. Suffice it to say it’s hard to go wrong when you pair fresh berries and cream, the two are age-old friends for good reason. The sweet-tart taste of berries counters the richness of the cream.
In this case the cream is a whipped coconut cream brightened with the addition of a tangy honey lemon curd.
Light and subtly sweet with a puckery zing, the curd is like a little burst of sunshine. Most lemon curds call for the grated zest of lemons, but swapping out the zest for a bit of lemon extract makes for a smoother final curd without sacrificing the assertive flavor that the peel brings to the mix.
The sharp taste of lemon is then gently tempered by the creamy whipped coconut milk. And, let me tell you, this cream is right at home slipped between layers of honey and vanilla infused strawberries.
A heap of strawberries are sliced and tossed with raw honey and a hint of vanilla extract to add a layer of extra sweetness and depth, but if you’re so inclined you could easily add a little rum or the liquor of your choice for the adult set.
Creamy, but not heavy, with big, bright flavors, the best part of making strawberries with lemon cream for dessert is that each of the parts can be made ahead of time and assembled right before serving which makes them an ideal choice for fuss-free entertaining.
An easy and elegant, make-ahead dessert made with fresh strawberries and a tangy lemon coconut cream.
- For the lemon curd:
- ¼ cup/60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons/60g honey
- 2 Tablespoons/28g butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 egg and 2 egg yolks
- ⅛th teaspoon pure lemon extract
- For the parfait:
- 1 pound/453g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons/42ml runny raw honey (warm slightly if your honey is solid at room temperature)
- 1 can/400ml full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- 1 recipe of lemon curd (see above)
- At least one night before place an unopened can of coconut milk in the refrigerator.
Make the honey lemon curd ahead of time:
- Put the lemon juice, honey and butter, cut into cubes, along with a pinch of salt into a glass heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
- Whisk together until butter has melted and ingredients are fully blended.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg and yolks lightly with a fork.
- Move the pan off the heat and stir the beaten eggs into the warm lemon mixture.
- Return to heat and cook, stirring regularly until mixture thickens and becomes custard-like about 3-5 minutes. (The curd should be smooth and creamy.) Remove immediately from heat. (If you leave it on the heat longer, the curd will become thick and your curd may be lumpy.
- Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools. Pour into a clean jar and chill in refrigerator before moving on to the next step. (Make ahead: The curd will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.)
Make the whipped coconut cream ahead of time:
- Open and scoop the solidified cream that has risen to the top, discarding the clear liquid underneath.
- Transfer coconut cream to a pre-chilled mixing bowl and beat on low with a stand or hand mixer until lightened. Increase speed to high and continue beating until thick and peaks form. Fold in cooled lemon curd, and beat again briefly to fully incorporate. (Make ahead: The lemon cream will store in the refrigerator for a few days.)
Make the strawberry filling:
- Combine the sliced strawberries in a bowl with the 2 Tablespoons of honey and ½ tsp vanilla extract. (Make ahead: Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.)
- Assemble the parfaits:
- Spoon macerated strawberries into the bottom of four glasses or bowls, follow with a layer of the lemon coconut cream. Continue layering with the remaining berries and cream mixture. Top each parfait with strawberries or lemon zest for garnish, and serve immediately or hold in the refrigerator until ready.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Paleo (substitute coconut oil for the butter if desired)
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 138mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.