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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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  • cranberry parfait
    Photo: Liren Baker
  • With the hustle and bustle of the holidays upon us, I am continually looking for ways to make life easier. Whether that means shopping online, having the card company print addresses on envelopes, or paying the extra bit to have someone else wrap a present for me, I am giving myself permission to take the short cut so that I can enjoy the season more. After all, why put extra stress on myself when there is a way that I can come out of the holiday without turning into a grinch?

    I do love wrapping presents, though, don't get me wrong. It's like chopping or ironing for me—extremely cathartic. The neat corners, the bow on top, and the element of surprise - it might be my favorite part of gift giving. More so than opening them!
  • cranberries
    Photo: Liren Baker
  • This holiday, with all the cooking, baking, and entertaining at hand, I wanted to share a delightfully simple

    dessert with you. This cranberry curd parfait takes the stress out of figuring out what to serve to end the
    holiday meal because, you see, its elements are all items that can be incorporated from other elements on the
    Christmas table. Layers of cranberry wine xauce, mingle with creamy cranberry curd and fluffy whipped
    cream, brought together with the crunch of an almond flavored cookie. To make it simple, use store bought
    cookies or perhaps snag a few from all those cookie exchanges. Te cranberry wine sauce is a lovely side to a traditional table or consider using it as I have over a cake. As for the cranberry curd, I dare you not to eat it by the spoonful, but you can also drizzle it over pancakes or scones on Christmas morning.

    Cranberry Curd Parfait

  • cranberry curd parfait
    Photo: Liren Baker

    Serves 6

    For the Cranberry Wine Sauce:
    3 cups fresh cranberries
    3/4 cup white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc
    3/4 cups granulated sugar

    For the Cranberry Curd:
    1/2 pound fresh cranberries (a little over 2 cups)
    1/2 cup water
    3 egg yolks
    1 whole egg
    3/4 cup sugar
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

    For the Whipped Cream:
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    ​For the Cranberry Curd Parfaits:

    Cranberry wine sauce
    Cranberry curd
    Whipped cream
    Amaretti or almond cookies (store bought is fine), crumbled

    Make the Cranberry Wine Sauce:
    Combine the cranberries, wine, and sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, stir, then lower heat to a simmer, and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the cranberries have all popped. Transfer to a glass jar and cool completely. This can be done a few days in advance.

    Make the Cranberry Curd:
    In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries and water, cover, and place over medium heat. Cook until the
    cranberries pop and the liquid bubbles. Pass the cranberries through a strainer, pressing well with a spoon.

    Be sure to scrape all the lovely red puree on the underside of the strainer into the bowl to use. Pour the
    cranberry puree back into the saucepan and set aside. Let it cool a tad.

    Whisk together the egg yolks and egg until combined. While whisking, pour in sugar and whisk until a light yellow color. Add the egg mixture to the cranberry puree in the sauce pan. Continue whisking until creamy and well incorporated, about one minute. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the custard thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, one cube at a time. Strain into a bowl or jar, cover surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This can be done several days in advance.

    Make the Whipped Cream:
    In a cold mixer bowl (I like to put my mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer beforehand.), whisk ingredients until
    soft peaks form. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. This can be done a couple
    days in advance.

    Assemble the Parfaits:
    In serving glasses, spoon in the cranberry wine sauce, a layer of whipped cream, cranberry curd, and
    crumbled cookies. Repeat the layers ending with whipped cream and serve with an additional whole cookie.

    Source: Cranberry wine sauce and cranberry curd recipes originally seen on Kitchen Confidante.

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