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Cherry Bittersweet Chocolate Parfait with Pistachio Gelato Recipe

Staff Writer

A beautiful pink mousse enrobes layers of cocoa pistachio biscuit in this dessert from Ryan Tateishi, pastry chef at Café Juanita in Kirkland, Wash. Served with a pistachio gelato and sweet poached cherries, it is a fitting end to a romantic Valentine’s Day meal.

Invert sugar is commonly used in making pastries and confections. It helps keep products more moist and tender, and extends their shelf life, in addition to resulting in a smoother mouthfeel, as compared to pastries made with ordinary sugar. If you can’t find or don’t want to buy invert sugar, you can substitute in honey, or try making your own at home. 

Deliver Ingredients


For the cocoa pistachio biscuit:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 40 grams cocoa powder
  • 115 grams pistachio powder
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 65 grams boiling water
  • 150 grams melted butter
  • 3 grams vanilla

For the Bing cherry mascarpone mousse:

  • 1 sheet gelatin
  • 80 grams heavy cream
  • 45 grams Bing cherry purée
  • 1/8 teaspoon citric acid
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 100 grams mascarpone
  • 20 grams crème fraîche

For the Bing cherry gelée:

  • ½ sheet gelatin
  • 60 grams Bing cherry purée
  • 1/8 teaspoon citric acid
  • 10 grams trimoline or invert sugar

For the poached cherries:

  • 450 grams cherries, preferably Bing
  • 190 grams red wine
  • 150 grams sugar

For the pistachio gelato:

  • 675 grams milk
  • 155 grams sugar
  • 70 grams yolks
  • 100 grams pistachio paste, unsweetened
  • 100 grams Sicilian pistachios


  • Ice cream maker
  • Acetate
  • 2 ring molds, one a ½-inch greater in diameter than the other


For the cocoa pistachio biscuit:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and salt. Whip until pale in color and substantially increased in volume.

In a large bowl, combine cocoa, pistachio powder, and sugar. Whisk in boiling water, butter, and vanilla. Fold in egg mixture. Spread onto a parchment lined half-sheet pan. Bake in a convection oven until set, approximately 15-18 minutes.

For the Bing cherry mascarpone mousse:

Bloom gelatin in 2 cups ice water. With a mixer, whip cream to just under soft peak consistency. In a small saucepan, heat purée, citric acid and sugar to dissolve sugar. Add bloomed gelatin. Cool mixture until warm. In a large bowl, fold together mascarpone and crème fraîche. Add warm cherry mixture. Fold in whipped cream. Chill until ready to use.

For the Bing cherry gelée:

Bloom gelatin in ice water. In a saucepan, heat puree, citric acid, and trimoline until warm. Add gelatin. Allow to cool.

For the poached cherries:

In a medium saucepan, cook cherries with sugar and wine until tender. Strain out cherries and reduce liquid by half. Reserve.

For the pistachio gelato:

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk and half of the sugar to a boil. In a small bowl, add the remaining sugar to the egg yolks. Temper ½ cup milk into egg yolk mixture and stir. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the milk. Heat mixture until it reaches 175 degrees. Add pistachio puree and strain. Allow gelato base to chill overnight. Churn in a ice cream maker according to the machine's instructions. Immediately after churning the base, fold in the pistachios.

Line ring molds with acetate. Cut out rounds of biscuit that are just smaller than the ring mold to ensure that biscuit is completely encased in mousse. Place one round of biscuit in the mold. Pipe just enough mousse into mold to completely cover biscuit. Tap the sheet pan against the table to allow any air bubbles to escape. Repeat with one more round of biscuit. Place parfait in the refrigerator and allow to set while the gelée is cooling. Once set, spoon just enough gelée over the parfaits to cover the mousse. Allow to set completely before serving. Serve with a scoop of pistachio gelato, and some poached cherries with their syrup.

Cherry Shopping Tip

Buying fruits in season when they are at the peak of their freshness make for great tasting food and can save you money.

Cherry Cooking Tip

Don’t throw out your overripe fruit – instead blend into a smoothie or salad dressing, add to muffin batter, bake into a cobbler, or boil down with sugar and a little lemon juice to make jam.