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Black Forest Parfait

No Bake Black Forest Parfait

This no bake black forest parfait layers together kirsch soaked ladyfingers, chocolate pastry cream, sweetened tart cherries, and whipped cream for a decadent dessert!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Chill Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate pastry cream, parfait, black forest cake, no bake black forest
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Maryanne Cabrera



  • ladyfingers, as needed
  • kirsch chocolate soaking syrup
  • chocolate pastry cream
  • 24.7 oz jar Dark Morello Cherries* in light syrup (12 oz drained)
  • whipped cream*
  • grated or shaved dark chocolate, to garnish

Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup granualted sugar
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Kirsch Chocolate Soaking Syrup:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoon kirsch (Kirschwasser)

Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream, very cold
  • 2 Tablespoons - ¼ cup confectioners sugar, according to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional


Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • Line a quarter-sheet baking pan with plastic wrap, making sure the sides of the pans are also covered. Set aside.
  • Pour 1 ½ cups milk into a large heavy bottomed sauce pot. Add ½ cup of sugar. Whisk together. Place over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to make sure the milk does not burn along the sides or bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa powder, and remaining ¼ cup sugar. Add in remaining ½ cup milk and egg yolks. Whisk until smooth.
  • Once milk has boiled, reduce heat. Slowly add a little bit of the milk into the cornstarch mixture. Whisk constantly to distribute the heat. Continue to add milk and whisk until only a couple of tablespoons of milk are left in the saucepan. Pour all the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan.
  • Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the custard has thickened. Keep whisking and let the custard come to boil to cook out the cornstarch flavor. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until smooth. Add salt and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the hot pastry cream into the prepared plastic wrapped sheet pan. Spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 10-15 minutes until the pastry cream has cooled to room temperature. Remove from freezer and transfer to an airtight container. Place plastic wrap directly on pastry cream to avoid condensation. Let chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Kirsch Soaking Syrup:

  • Dissolve sugar in hot water. Whisk in sifted cocoa powder. Mix in kirsch. Set aside. (Reheat in microwave as needed during assembly.)

Whipped Cream:

  • Use a hand mixer (or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment) to mix together heavy cream and confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium speed until cream reaches stiff peaks. Use immediately, or cover and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to assemble. 


  • Gather desired serving vessels. Working with one ladyfinger at a time, dip in warm kirsch soaking syrup for 2-3 seconds on each side. (Do not soak for too long because ladyfinger will soften too much.) Place ladyfinger in serving vessel. If necessary, break ladyfinger into smaller pieces depending on size and shape of serving vessel.
  • Spread layer of chocolate pastry cream on top to fully cover ladyfingers. Spoon about 5 pieces of drained cherries on top of pastry cream. Top with whipped cream. 
  • Repeat with second layer of soaked ladyfinger, pastry cream, cherries, and whipped cream. If desired, repeat with a third layer.
  • If serving immediately, garnish top layer with shaved chocolate. Otherwise, cover and keep chilled in the fridge for up to two days. Before serving, garnish with shaved chocolate.  


Ingredient Notes:

  • I use these ladyfingers. They are available in large packages at Smart and Final and Restaurant Depot. 
  • Use homemade whipped cream or an 8 oz tub of store-bought whipped topping, such as Cool Whip.
  • Use Morello cherries or tart/sour cherries in LIGHT syrup. Those jarred or canned on heavy syrup will be too sweet for this recipe. Drain cherries before use.
  • Kirsch/Kirschwasser is not the same as cherry liqueur. Kirsch is a clear colored cherry brandy.
MAKE AHEAD OPTION: These Black Forest parfaits can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the fridge covered for up to two days before servings. After two days, the chocolate pastry cream will start to weep and separate. 
Ideally, these parfaits are best enjoyed within 24 hours of assembly.