Recipe for individual Italian parfaits

Jillian Bernardini

Serves 4

Similar to cannoli filling, this sweetened ricotta mixture, layered with crushed amaretti cookies and toasted hazelnuts, is a unique twist on a classically layered parfait dessert.

½ cup skinned hazelnuts, toasted
15 ounces whole or part-skim ricotta
¼ cup vanilla yogurt
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25 amaretti cookies
½ cup heavy cream
1 ounce semisweet or sweet chocolate, grated (for garnish)

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1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand 4 tall glasses or coupe glasses.

2. In a baking dish, toast the hazelnuts, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned; cool. Chop the hazelnuts coarsely; transfer to a bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk the ricotta until creamy, then whisk in the yogurt, ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate.

4. Meanwhile, place cookies in a large zipper-top plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush them to the size of peas.

5. In a cold bowl with cold beaters, beat the cream and the remaining ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar until it holds soft peaks.

6. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into each glass, sprinkle with amaretti and a few hazelnuts (save 2 tablespoons of the nuts for the garnish). Make more layers in this way, ending with a thin layer of ricotta. Add a spoonful of whipped cream and top with the reserved hazelnuts and chocolate. Jillian Bernardini