1. In the United States, this dessert consists of ice cream layered with flavored syrup or fruit and whipped cream. It's often topped with whipped cream, nuts and sometimes a maraschino cherry. 2. A French parfait is a frozen custard dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, whipped cream and a flavoring such as fruit purée. In French, parfait means "perfect," which is how many view this dessert. Both American and French parfaits are served in tall, narrow, footed "parfait glasses."
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.