foodFood & Drinkrecipes

A Wicked Good ‘Creamsicle’ Parfait + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

The classic orange creamsicle is a fond childhood memory of mine, and the idea of deconstructing it is exciting! Any time the idea of heating sugar to one of its various stages appears in a recipe, it can seem daunting, but don’t be afraid! With a hand mixer and sugar thermometer you can dive in and master the semifreddo, one of the most versatile cold dessert bases — like the base used for this Vanilla Bean Parfait with Orange Granita served at Myers + Chang restaurant in Boston. This recipe comes from Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz’s new cookbook, Myers + Chang at Home, which is full of recipes for the delicious food served at the restaurant. So while your parfait and granita are setting up in the freezer, you can prepare an amazing stir-fry, salad, plate of noodles or dumplings for your main meal. —Kristina

To win a copy of Myers + Chang at Home, leave an answer in the comments section below: What cooking technique has been the hardest for you to master? Tell us your most memorable attempt, and give us some tips for success!

Why Joanne and Karen love this recipe

Joanne: I eat dessert all day long at my bakery, Flour, so by the time I get to M+C I’m dying for spicy, punchy, garlicky noodles, stir fries, greens and dumplings. Once I’ve had my fill this is the only dessert I want. It’s creamy and cold, light and refreshingly bright. Even when I feel like I can’t eat another bite, put this in front of me and it somehow magically, happily disappears.

Karen: Sometimes our guests will say, “Please don’t ever take the vanilla bean parfait off the menu” and I always reply, “don’t worry, it’s my favorite.” This is a classy, grown-up version of a creamsicle that makes me as excited as hearing the ice cream truck bell ringing when I was a kid. When you want something sweet at the end of the meal, I always feel that it should be light and almost palate cleansing. It should lift you up and send you out the door ready to dance. Simple, crunchy, cold orange granita, over luscious vanilla parfait with fresh citrus slices and mint does just that. It is simply a perfect bite.

Find Joanne on Instagram here, and Karen here.

{Photography by Kristin Teig}

Image above: Group dinner at Myers + Chang restaurant

Image above: Vanilla bean parfait with orange granita

Image above: Joanne Chang

Image above: Karen Akunowicz

Vanilla Bean Parfait with Orange Granita

Over the years, we’ve probably gotten no fewer than one thousand comment cards singing the praises of this parfait as a “wicked good” interpretation of the Creamsicle. I didn’t grow up eating typical Americana dessert fare and have never had a Creamsicle, but I remember seeing pictures of them painted on the side of the ice cream truck that would circle the block during hot summers when I was a kid. I pined for this treat—any treat, actually—while instead, a large plate of oranges was waiting for me at home. Oranges were also our nightly dessert. That wasn’t going to fly at Myers+Chang (I have my pastry chef reputation to maintain, after all), so I married fresh orange ice with vanilla bean parfait (essentially an ice cream made without an ice cream maker). There are a gazillion ways to plate it to make it pretty, or fun, or whimsical. It is creamy and refreshing and a lovely way to end a big Asian feast.

Serves 6


  • For the Parfait:
  • 1/2 fresh vanilla bean
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Orange Granita (recipe follows)
  • 2 oranges, peeled and pith removed, sliced into thin rounds
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • For the Orange Granita (Makes 4 cups):
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh orange juice



To make the parfait

Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp small knife and open it up. Use the knife to scrape out the seeds, where all the wonderful vanilla flavor is. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer, whip the egg yolks and vanilla bean seeds on medium speed until the yolks have lightened in color and become somewhat frothy, 3 to 4 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and [1/2] cup water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook the sugar syrup over high heat until it reaches soft ball stage, 238°F.


With the mixer running on low speed, drizzle the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into the yolks. When all the syrup has been incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium. Whip for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy and cool. Poke your finger in there to test the temperature.


Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream and salt together until they hold stiff peaks (i.e., when you lift a spoonful of the cream it holds its shape well). Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled fluffy egg-sugar mixture. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth and even out the top. Cover the pan entirely with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 24 hours and up to 1 week.


Remove the vanilla parfait from freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Using a hot sharp knife, slice the parfait into six slices and place one on each of six dessert plates. Divide the granita evenly among the six plates. Arrange the orange slices evenly on top of the granita. Thinly slice the mint and sprinkle it evenly on top of all six dishes. Serve immediately.


To make the granita

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and [1/2] cup water and bring to a boil. Add the orange juice and stir. Transfer to a metal or plastic container that fits in your freezer. Freeze for 3 to 4 hours. Every 30 minutes, use a fork to scrape and mix the granita so it does not freeze into a solid block. It should be completely frozen but still easily spoonable. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.


Vanilla Bean Parfait with Orange Granita excerpted from MYERS+CHANG AT HOME © 2017 by Joanne Chang with Karen Akunowicz. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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