We’ll begin today, with the simplest recipes, ideas and concepts and develop progressively more complex themes as time goes on. The poached pear from today’s desserts will be a stage in a later recipe that is more involved.
Choosing the right dessert for a meal is an art to begin with, and producing a homemade dessert when you are also single-handedly preparing an elaborate dinner can be a challenge. Fortunately, an elaborate meal often benefits from the balance of a simple and light dessert, which generally are also easy to prepare.
Two such desserts are baked apples and poached pears.
Each of these is very easy, requiring a few simple ingredients, only a bit of work, and your attention for a few minutes.
Baked Apple (per apple, multiply by the number of guests)
Can be prepared ahead of time and popped into the oven as dinner is starting. If you prepare it early, take a moment to drop the cored apples into a bowl of water that has had lemon juice added to it. This will keep the apples from turning brown.
2 Tsp soft (but not melted) Butter
1-2 Tsp Brown Sugar
Pinch of Cinnamon
2 Cloves (whole)
Heat oven to 350º
- Using a knife, cut downwards from the top of the apple, around the core and remove it. This should leave you with an apple that has a hole through it. If you are able to keep the very bottom intact, great, if not, that’s okay too. We’ll work with what we get.
- If you have ramekins or custard cups that will fit individual apples, great, if not, line them up in a baking dish that is large enough to accommodate them all. Something that is normally used to bake desserts, like a pie or cake pan is ideal.
- Mix the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon together and pack into the hole at the top of the apple. If you want to use the walnuts, add them to the butter mixture before packing the apples. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon on the top of the apple, and poke one or two whole cloves into the side of each apple.
- Bake at 350º for 20 – 30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the skin of the apple.
- Serve with whipped cream if you felt like making it, or with a small pitcher of un-whipped heavy cream on the side.
Poached Pears (per pear, again, multiply by the number of guests)
½ Cup water
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Port, Brandy or Rum
1 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger or 2 Tsp Candied Ginger, minced
- Peel the pears and cut in halves, removing the cores
- Put the water and sugar into a nonstick skillet and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat so that the liquid is simmering gently.
- Add the pears, with the cut side down, and cook in the liquid until they are soft enough to be pierced with a fork. If the water boils off during this process, add a bit more to the pan.
- When the pears are cooked, remove them to serving dishes and add the ginger and port to the sauce, stirring it in to mix well. Pour this over the dishes of pears and serve.