For the sweetened whipped cream:
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, well chilled
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ripe apricots
- 20 crisp gingersnaps
- 1 ripe apricot
- 6 fresh mint sprigs
To make the sweetened whipped cream, in a mixing bowl, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, begin beating the cream on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to high. Beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. To test, turn off the mixer and lift the beaters. If the cream makes soft little peaks that flop over slightly, it is ready. Do not overbeat, or the cream may separate. You can use the whipped cream immediately, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 hours.
Cut each of the 6 apricots in half and pull out the pit. Cut each half into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Divide the slices into 12 equal piles.
Put the gingersnaps into a plastic bag. Push out the air and seal the bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the cookies to make coarse crumbs. The pieces should be the size of peas and no larger. You should have about 1 1/2 cups crumbs.
Set 6 parfait glasses or other serving glasses on a work surface. Sprinkle about 1 heaping tablespoon of the gingersnap crumbs into the bottom of each glass. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of the whipped cream over the crumbs. Place 1 pile of apricots on top of the cream. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with whipped cream. You will have 3 layers of crumbs, 3 layers of cream and 2 layers of fruit in each glass.
Cover the glasses with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The longer the parfaits are refrigerated, the softer the crumbs will become.
Just before serving, cut the remaining apricot in half and pull out the pit. Cut each half into 3 slices. Top each parfait with an apricot slice and a mint sprig. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Kid's Cookbook, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Time-Life Books, 2000).