Pumpkin Breakfast Parfait

October 30, 2014

Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a. fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: A single serving of pie-inspired goodness, filled with warm spices and layers of tangy yogurt.

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I’m an incorrigible food snoop. Whenever I’m at work or on a plane ride, for example, and I see someone has packed a lunch, I always peer over to try to decipher what it is that they’ve brought. When I’m flipping through a furniture catalogue and there’s a plate of something sitting on a side table, I stop and pull the catalogue right up to my nose so I can squint and make out what it is (croissants and toast! petits fours! olives and some kind of canapés!). I spend more time doing that than looking at the furniture.

More: Pack one of these desserts for lunch and you're sure to get a few stares.

Anyway, a few years ago I was working on a research project for which we had a series of trainings that started early in the morning. They provided us with coffee and some food, but my friend Christina packed a breakfast with her every morning, and every morning I had to check out what it was. One morning in particular I couldn’t stop glancing over at her food. It looked like she was eating smashed up pumpkin pie. But -- this being a nutrition research team -- I knew I was probably the only one in the group who would actually eat pie for breakfast (I would eat pumpkin pie for breakfast every day if I could), so when we had a break I asked what it was. It turned out to be a parfait made with yogurt and pumpkin purée.

It’s such a clever and simple switch at this time of year, when berries and other summer fruits have lost their luster. Sure, you could make a parfait with apples or pears, but whether or not we’ll admit it, we all want pumpkin -- its hunter’s orange color, its plush texture, and its mellow, sweet flavor -- as much as possible this time of year. We all want to lace pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg and sneak it into every meal. So why not just go for it? And why not start with a parfait, where the brightness of yogurt energizes the laid-back pumpkin with a little slap on its mellow orange bum. No, it’s no pumpkin pie, but it’s easier to eat for breakfast every day.

More: Feeling inspired? Try making your own yogurt.

Pumpkin Breakfast Parfait

Serves 1

1/2 cup pumpkin purée (I use canned)
1 teaspoon maple syrup, plus more to taste
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or vanilla if you prefer)
Granola for sprinkling on top, if desired

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Emily Vikre

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  • ghainskom
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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


ghainskom November 29, 2014
This was delicious. I made it with butternut squash purée and topped with toasted almonds. Beware of the quantities though, this really makes enough to be a full breakfast! I thought I'd take it as dessert but the quantities would have to be cut down...cut
Katelinlee October 30, 2014
I love that you guys use jadeite in some of your photos!
Rémy R. October 30, 2014
Being a Southerner, I love creamy pies, and I get my fix every morning by mixing plain yogurt with peanut butter and honey (or, when I'm feeling naughty, dulce de leche). Similar idea -- socially sanctioned breakfast! Peanut butter pie, plus protein! It's wondrous.
Pegeen October 30, 2014
What a treat for catering to Halloween weekend visitors! Thanks for a great recipe. (And a Halloween Booooooooo to you)
aargersi October 30, 2014
Want. Parfait, want. Little green plate, want.
Susan W. October 30, 2014
I can't wait to make this. Granola is not part of my life, but I happen to have a small amount of raw macadamia nuts in my freezer. Toasted and chopped, I think they will make a good stand in.
Sarah J. October 30, 2014
I love this! I often find myself with some rando pumpkin purée leftover in the can after I've made some sort of pumpkin baked good, and while I usually put it in smoothies, this seems like a splendid idea. Thanks for the inspiration!
Lauren October 30, 2014
Wow I love this, pumpkin parfait? yes please. Plus it looks like a great make ahead breakfast which is always needed!
Lindsay-Jean H. October 30, 2014
"And why not start with a parfait, where the brightness of yogurt energizes the laid-back pumpkin with a little slap on its mellow orange bum." Um, love this. So much.