I have a 14 year-old son, an 8 year-old stepdaughter and a 3 year-old daughter. I cook just about every night, but I rarely make dessert. That’s mainly because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I suppose, but the other night my youngest was asking for Nutella, or as she puts it “chocowhate peanut buttah,” because she is not yet proficient with the language.  

She wasn’t asking as much as demanding, and not demanding so much as threatening to combust if she didn’t get her way. One of our strategies when our 3 year-old threatens to combust is to distract her by asking her to help me cook. She enjoys helping me in the kitchen, and she has no idea that she is not actually helping me due to her inadequate fine motor skills. The credulous little dear believes she is contributing meaningfully to the preparation of our meals.  

Say what you want about me, but I can put one over on a 3 year-old.

Georgia acceded to my request for help in the kitchen after her other demands were met, and it was at that point I realized I might actually use child labor to my benefit, because in addition to Nutella, I had ladyfinger cookies in my pantry and heavy cream in my fridge. I figured I could make a parfait.

I put a half dozen ladyfingers in a ziplock bag and gave my daughter an ice cream scoop with license to apply the latter to the former. She did this with enthusiasm.

While she taught the ladyfingers a lesson, I whipped a cup or so of heavy cream to soft peaks with a tablespoon of powdered sugar, then folded in a couple of tablespoons of Nutella. It thickened the cream considerably, and it tasted pretty good, too.

So now I had two layers; all I needed was something to balance the richness, and fortunately I had some raspberries that were a little past their prime. All I needed to do was chop them up.

I got a few small glasses and started with a layer of pulverized ladyfingers, followed by whipped Nutella-cream, a little more ladyfingers, raspberries, more cream and then a dusting of more ladyfinger dust. Bob’s your uncle.

More recently I did it again, only this time using Italian sesame cookies in place of ladyfingers and peaches in place of raspberries. I also toasted and chopped some hazelnuts to top things off, and that was a nice touch.

In all, I think I prefer the ladyfingers to the sesame cookies, which have a little too pronounced a flavor, but the recipe is very adaptable – switch out anything but the whipped cream and you’ll have the same basic dish.

A tall, narrow glass works best, because it allows you to see the different layers clearly, but I have found that 3 year-old girls do not care one way or the other.



Special P.S. To Sepp B.: HAHAHAHA.