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Italian Parfaits with Amaretti Cookies and Toasted Hazelnuts

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. This is a wonderful dessert that plays off of classic Italian ingredients, all topped with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream and flecks of chocolate shavings. Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup skinned hazelnuts, toasted

  • 1 ea. 15 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 25 amaretti cookies

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated for garnish


  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.

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