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Parfait is French and means perfect and recipes worth calling parfait, be they sweet or savoury, are supposed to be something special.

A French Parfait is an iced dessert made with fresh whipped cream, egg yolks, sugar and a flavoring. It can be cut into slices. Originally it consisted of coffee ice cream, while today many different varieties exist, for example using fruit purée. Special parfait moulds are used to prepare the dessert. They have the shape of a cylinder with one rounded edge. If this is not available a rectangular cake mould can be used instead. French parfaits can be served by itself or used as a base for an ice cake or an iced soufflé.

An American Parfait is a layered dessert made from whipped cream or ice cream and different ingredients like syrup, fresh fruits or nuts. It is served in tall glasses and the layering should be visible.

In Germany Parfait can also refer to a savoury spread similar to patê made from a fine forcemeat and precious ingredients. Parfaits are thickened with gelatin or egg yolk. To keep them fluffy whipped cream is often folded into the mass. The forcemeat is filled into a terrine or timbale mould and put into the refrigerator to set.

Typical fine and aromatic parfaits are made from foie gras or lobster meat.

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