Strawberry Yoghurt Parfait in the Persian Manner

Yoghurt Strawberry Parfait

It was the sort of evening where dessert had to be eaten first. It was the end of June and the tiny, scarlet, sweet-as-jam wild strawberries, le fragoline di Nemi were in season. Baba was visiting me in Rome from Bucharest and on the weekend our dear friends, Uncle Iqi and Aunty Neeman graciously drove us up into the Castelli Romani to the small town of Nemi. They always knew where to take us for the best medium-rare steak or the crispiest-thinnest pizza in Rome. And this time, they invited us for early season porcini mushrooms and le fragoline in Nemi.

All the local cafés there were serving le fragoline in tall glasses with clouds of fresh, whipped cream, or atop a creamy vanilla gelato. And then there was my favourite, brought to you in bowls with a splash of balsamic vinegar, the sweetness of the strawberries coaxed by the tart and earthy tones of the aceto di balsamico.

Uncle Iqi chose a restaurant overlooking the silver lake which is so perfectly still and calm that it is referred to as Il Specchio di Diana; the mirror of Diana. But prior to dinner, Aunty Neeman said we needed a fix of these wild strawberries at the café, so as Uncle Iqi sipped on his wine and chatted in his charming baritone voice, Baba lingered over his caffè latte whilst us girls tucked into our naughty pre-dinner desserts. Italians love their culinary rules: no grated cheese with spaghetti alle vongole, no cappuccino in the afternoon, but Aunty Neeman assured me there was absolutely nothing wrong with having some spoonfuls of Nemi’s strawberries before our dinner.

Yoghurt Strawberry Parfait

Later, the four of us shared plate after plate of bruschetti, crowned with fresh tomatoes glistening with olive oil and verdant leaves of basilico. After this carb-gluttony, Baba and I decided to share one primo of taglioni, tossed with roasted, intense-flavoured porcini mushrooms, and to bind the dish, a generous heap of grated pecorino romano. The grassy olive oil spread all over our lips as we kept twirling our forks into the taglioni, adding a fresh grind of pepper here and there. The patrons at the other tables wondered who this odd father-daughter pair were- how odd that they were sharing one plate of pasta.

But it was one of those inexplicable father-daughter moments.

And of course, the indulgence continued with bowls of fragoline di Nemi to round off our meal.

Aunty Neeman and I strolled back towards the car, with Baba and Uncle Iqi ahead of us, savouring puffs from their Partagás as the sun was setting late into the night and the silvery sheen of the lake now gone.

Yoghurt Strawberry Parfait

The local Ontario strawberries remind me of that evening in Nemi and all the other times I have indulged in scoops of fragoline di Nemi gelato in Rome.

The creaminess of the Greek yoghurt is just the sort of base that accentuates the sweetness of the strawberries- that, mingling with the fragrance of rosewater, and all you need is a dusting of crushed pistachios and a gentle swirl of your preferred honey over the berries.

Yoghurt Strawberry Parfait

Serves 4

Ingredients:
*350 g / 1 cup full fat Greek yoghurt
*200g / 1½ cup strawberries
*½ tsp rosewater (this can be found in Persian, Lebanese / Syrian, Pakistani or Indian grocery stores- (if you live in Toronto- it can be found at a local Rabba corner shop)
*2 tsp crushed, unsalted pistachios
*your preferred honey for drizzling

Preparation:
*Place yoghurt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Add rosewater and gently stir. Set aside.
*Hull the strawberries and slice as thinly as possible on the vertical (the strawberries will look heart-shaped when sliced).
*Transfer 4 tbsp of the rosewater-spiked yoghurt to each individual plate / bowl. If using a plate, you can transfer with an icing spatula to spread the yoghurt in a circular pattern.
*Arrange strawberry slices on top.
*Dust with crushed pistachios.
*Drizzle with your favourite honey. I use lavender or manuka.

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Comments

  1. So pretty and can just imagine how delicious it is, all those aromatic ingredients! Love the spoon, by the way!

  2. Hi,shaima.since a long time i wanted to write to you.i have discovered ur blog a few weeks back and have been hooked since.i enjoy ur simple and unique recipes but more than that, ur beautiful use of language. So vivid and descriptive. I feel as a part of ur journey thru life.i am a literature student amd u can imagine my thirst for literary pieces of work. I think u can b a very good writer as everyone too suggests.u have a gift and ucan utilize it.its truly a great pleasure reading ur memoirs.i look forward to updates on your blog .so keep it coming?keep up the good work.

  3. @Clare Thank you so much, lovely lady. As for that spoon it is from my mum’s trousseau- no one wants it because no one wants to polish it! tee hee x s

    @Juvs Thank you so much for your kindest words. I won’t be able to update my blog too often over the next 6 weeks as I will be traveling, but please do stop by again. Where are you studying literature? All the best to you.

  4. beautiful shots! and love the flavor combo here.

  5. So simple and yet so perfect. A wonderful way to showcase succulent spring strawberries. I have such a hard time finding full fat yogurt, the fat police seem to have confiscated it all and we are left with only 2% or non-fat. I’m usually OK with 2% but a dish like this requires only the best. I must find some NOW. – S

  6. lady jane grey says:

    Since I discovered the full fat greek yogurt, with its own complex lovely tart taste I can’t go back to the low-fat one…

  7. The simplest things are often the most delicious – love the tiny 1/2 tsp of rosewater to fragrance and lift the strawberries. The strawberries here in the UK seem to be having a good year – lots of fragrance and flavour x

  8. Bahareh says:

    wow the Yogurt is a nice surprise and deviation from the usual cream…I can’t wait to try this.

  9. Yum! the perfect summer dessert-in-place-of-dinner recipe 🙂

  10. Azarakhsh says:

    The very first photo led to that warm, fuzzy feeling and eyes welling up into joyful tears. An instant reminder of home and cutlery from Mum and Grandma 🙂 . That’s exactly the kind of thing we’d have too, strained/firm home-made yogurt swirled with rosewater and fresh strawberries. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  11. Lovely blog! We spend so much time just looking at the pictures. So eye catching and unique. Sometimes it’s so hard not to touch the computer screen. We think it is wonderful you are writing about your heritage. It is beautifully narrated.

  12. I tried this over the weekend and the rose water added this extra essence. Thank you for the recipe.

  13. I loved that pic of you regally sitting in the outdoor patio of that restaurant, looking as lovely as ever. That strawberries need cream, who can argue with that, especially one with tang like this one.

  14. YUM!!! Strawberries and pistachios – what a great combo.
    xomelly

  15. I came across your blog tonight and am so happy to have found it. I love your stories and can relate to so many of them especially those with an Iranian hint!

  16. absolutely gorgeous – would make a perfect breakfast!

  17. What a simple and exquisite dessert! I love preparations like this where a few key ingredients can create magic. Beautiful! -Louisa

  18. This is so simple and elegant dessert, just love the addition of rosewater.

  19. Beautiful, light lovely flavour using Iranian rose water which I prefer.

Trackbacks

  1. […] read the most delicious post about a strawberry yogurt parfait. My version: Jubilee strawberries and mixed nuts with Greek-style yogurt flavoured with rosewater. […]

  2. […] stand out – a batter cake seemed like the best option. I love rosewater with strawberries and I have paired them together before, too. Rosewater is used in so many Persian desserts – its delicate fragrance elevates […]

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