Pear and Cranberry Parfaits
This recipe can adapt to your holiday cooking schedule: the crumb layer and poached pears can be made up to three days ahead, and the assembled parfaits can be refrigerated up to eight hours. To make the recipe vegan, use vegan wafer or graham cookies for the crumb layer, such as Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams.
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 12 small pears, peeled, cored, and quartered, stems left on if possible, for garnish
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 ⅓ cups fresh cranberries
- 2 13.5-oz. cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds, optional
- ¾ cup chocolate graham crackers, crushed
- ½ cup prunes or dried plums
- ¼ cup roughly chopped crystallized ginger
1. To make Fruit Layer: Fill large saucepan with 8 cups cold water and lemon juice. Add pears, and more water to cover, if necessary, then stir in sugar. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into saucepan, and drop scraped pod halves into pan. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove 12 pear quarters with stems, and set aside. Add cranberries to remaining pears, and simmer 3 minutes, or until cranberries begin to pop. Remove vanilla beans, and transfer fruit mixture with liquid to bowl. Cool, then chill 2 hours.
2. To make Crumb Layer: Toast almonds in skillet over medium heat 8 minutes, shaking pan frequently, until lightly golden. Add fennel seeds, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until fragrant. Transfer mixture to food processor; add graham crackers, prunes, and ginger. Pulse until well combined; set aside.
3. Spoon solid layer of coconut milk at top of cans into bowl. (Reserve liquid in bottom for another use.) Beat solid coconut milk with electric mixer 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Add cinnamon, and beat 1 minute more.
4. Spoon half of cranberry-pear mixture into 12 parfait glasses, draining off excess syrup and gently breaking up pear quarters, if necessary. Top each with half of whipped coconut milk, then divide Crumb Layer among glasses, reserving 1/3 cup for garnish. Spoon remaining Fruit Layer into glasses; top with remaining whipped coconut milk. Garnish with reserved pear quarters and remaining Crumb Layer.
November 2013 p.70