The SFoodie Advent Calendar counts down the days before Christmas/Nondenominationalwinterholiday, one treat at a time.
Citizen Cake: The Pac Heights Sequel
has a few sugar cookies in its case right now, decorated with OCD flair, but SFoodie's eye was drawn to the bordello-pink hues of the cranberry linzer verrine.
It's the holiday edition of the bakery's verrines, which are small glasses layered with puddings, fruits, and purees ― the European equivalent of Vietnamese che ba mau
. Elizabeth Falkner's cranberry verrine is celebrates the entire advent period, that month between Thanksgiving and December when we forget about eating cranberries for their antioxidant profile and candy the fruits with as much sugar as they can absorb.
The point of a verrine is to appeal to your inner 2-year-old, that part of the brain that grabs at every bright, pretty thing that passes through your field of vision. With one spoonful, you zero in on a square of cranberry gelee, with another,
the crunch of candied hazelnuts. The cranberry-orange mousse that dominates the verrine is heavy on the
gelatin, giving it a startling texture ― more a marshmallow than a
pudding. Just as you adjust to its texture, a fervidly tart candied cranberry comes along and distracts you again.
Crunchy, puckery, sugar-flushed, and vivid, the verrine is the culinary equivalent of a stroll through the glittery Christmas decorations at Macy's. You don't risk emerging from the experience infected with a Christmas carol you can't shake from the brain. Citizen Cake:
2125 Fillmore (at Sacramento), 861-2228.
Dec. 1: Fruitcake from Schubert's Bakery
Dec. 2: Vegan Peppermint Joe-Joes
Dec. 3: Coconut Snowball from Sweet Adeline