These parfaits are as beautiful for breakfast as they are refreshing for dessert. The addition of a few ripe rounds of banana is very strategic, since their creaminess adds a surprising (and very soothing) contrast to the cold, juicy melon.
Yield: 6 Servings
1 rounded cup (½ dry pint) blackberries, raspberries, or hulled strawberries, plus 2 extra beautiful berries per person for garnish
1 rounded tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
2 large, ripe, but firm bananas
1 to 2 teaspoons strained fresh lemon juice
4 cups melon balls from two or three different types of ripe melon
Two 8-ounce containers vanilla yogurt
Your favorite granola or some dry-toasted sliced almonds or walnuts
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Place the berries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a blender. Process the berries until thoroughly pureed. Place the jam in a 1-quart saucepan. Position a fine-mesh sieve over the pan and pour the berry puree into the sieve. Using a sturdy rubber or wooden spatula, rub the puree through the sieve, leaving the seeds behind (straining is not necessary if using strawberries). Bring the pureed mixture just to a simmer over low heat, stirring to break up any coagulated jam. Remove this from the stove, pour it into a bowl, and let it cool.
When you’re almost ready to serve the parfaits, lay each peeled banana on a flat surface. Use a gentle but firm hand to scoop down into the banana flesh, with a melon bailer, making a full clockwise revolution with the scoop. Lift the scoop and, to help the banana ball pop out, knock the stem of the scooper over the rim of a bowl. When you’ve measured at least 1 cup, toss them with the lemon juice to prevent them from discoloring.
Gently fold together the banana and melon balls. Place 1¼ cups of the fruit balls in each parfait glass and ladle 1/3 to ½ cup of vanilla yogurt over the fruit. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the berry puree on top of the yogurt. Allow the parfait to sit for a few minutes so the toppings can trickle down throughout the fruit. If desired, top each parfait with a tablespoon or so of your favorite granola or some toasted sliced almonds. Garnish each serving with two plump berries and a beautiful sprig of fresh mint.
Timing is Everything
The fruit puree can be prepared up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, well covered.
Although the bananas must be scooped close to assembling the parfaits, the melon balls can be scooped one day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, well covered.
The parfaits can be assembled (without the granola or nuts) up to 2 hours ahead of serving. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. If using a topping, add it just before serving.