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by Liren Baker

Liren Baker is the voice behind the blog Kitchen Confidante, where she shares taste and inspiration in the kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of food, what it represents, what it invokes, and what we can create out of it, she shares recipes and images that remind her of her heritage, her childhood in New York, and the vibrant culinary culture she has learned to embrace in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives.

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  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • This time of year, as I stroll through the abundant farmers markets, I find myself continually drawn to the plumpest and sweetest berries of the season. To me, these gorgeous gems are the hallmarks of summer.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • There's nothing more satisfying than a handful of fresh blueberries, picked at their peak, freshly rinsed, and sweeter than any gummy bear you could imagine. I truly believe that if fruit were this wonderful all the time, then we would hardly be tempted by processed foods.

    While I do love to create sumptious desserts with fresh berries, I have to admit that it is always with a little sadness. It seems a shame to use the most perfect berries when baking -- almost as if I am cheating them (and me) a little bit.

    So today, I am sharing with you simple (and simply divine) Berry Crisp Parfaits. By macerating raspberries and blueberries in their own juices, I don't feel as guilty. The layers of berry, nestled within creamy layers of sweetened whipped cream reminiscent of cheesecake and crumbly topping you would find in your grandmother's crisp -- well, it's just heaven on a spoon.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • If you're entertaining, I love that you can assemble the parfaits the day before your gathering. Even better, place them in little jars -- pop on a lid and it's picnic perfect!
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • Berry Crisp Parfaits

    Serves 6

    Ingredients:

    For the fillings:

    1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
    1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
    2 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    3 oz Philly Cream Cheese
    1/4 cup confectioners sugar

    For the crisp layer:

    1/3 cup flour
    1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    3 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup rolled oats (regular oatmeal)
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    Method:

    In a glass bowl, combine the raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and stir well. Do the same in a separate bowl with the blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Gently press the berries with a masher to release some juices. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 2 hours (or overnight).

    In the bowl of an electric mixer with a wire whisk, beat the heavy cream, cream cheese and confectioners sugar until it turns to stiff peaks. Transfer to an airtight container and chill until ready to assemble.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Make the crisp layer. Combine flour, sugar and butter and using a pastry blender, two forks or a food processor until it looks like course crumbs. Add oats and cinnamon and mix a little more. Spread in a pie pan and bake about 10 minutes or until just brown and crumbly.

    Assemble the parfaits. When the berries have softened and released their juices, place about 3 tablespoons of raspberries and some juice in the bottom of 6 6-oz serving cups. Add 1/4 cup of whipped cream mixture to each and smooth the tops. Place about 2 tablespoons of crisp on top. Add about 3 tablespoons of blueberries on top. Repeat with another whipped cream layer. If making ahead, cover each parfait glass with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator. This can be done up to one day ahead.

    Before serving, garnish with fresh berries. Serve with additional crisp on the side, if desired.
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