Parfait originated in France and means ‘perfect’. It is a semi-frozen dessert which dates back to the late 18th century. In France, it is made with ingredients that include sugar, syrup, eggs, and cream. Though it is a dessert, parfait may or may not be sweet. It has a custard-like texture, and it must be stirred while freezing to get the texture.
In the U.S and Canada, parfait can either be the popular French dessert or the American version which includes granola, nuts, yogurt, and liqueurs. The American version is made by layering parfait cream, ice-cream, and topping in a clear glass. The glass is used to display the layers of the dessert. The toppings can be whipped cream, fruits, or liqueur. A yogurt parfait is prepared by layering yogurt, grains such as granola or crushed gram crackers and fruits. If low-fat or fat-free yogurt is used, yogurt parfait has a lot of health benefits as yogurts are an excellent source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of heart diseases. Oatmeal and low-fat granola are rich in complex carbohydrates that help regulate the digestive system and blood sugar levels.
In the United Kingdom, parfait has an entirely different meaning. It refers to a very smooth paste made of meat, usually from chicken or duck liver, and sweetened with liqueurs.