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.
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!
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
Photo: Liren Baker
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.