14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears

A LOT of the dessert recipes in Simply Delicious feature almonds, and 14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears is a perfect example of these type of “semi-fancy” recipes. I’m not sure why almonds are featured so heavily in the book (or 1980s cuisine in general), but I suppose it’s to lend a sense of haute cuisine to something that would be (in reality) executed in a home kitchen.

The 1980s were all about stylish and flashy veneers without much to back it up underneath, even when it came to food, and this recipe is a perfect encapsulation of it. The fancy top covers up the cheap canned pears underneath, dazzling you with a hint of something high-class to distract you from the less impressive core which makes up the bulk of the dessert. Maybe some things should have just stayed in the 80s.

If pears aren’t your thing, the TIPS section offers the substitution ideas of peaches or apricots. I probably would have done it with peaches had I not been trying to stick to the original recipe.

They also offer the idea of omitting the almond topping, which leaves you with…just pears? Or maybe they mean omitting just the sliced almonds. Instructions unclear.

Ingredients. I used some slivered almonds to skip the needed peeling and chopping, but went extra on the pears and used fresh ones instead of canned. I’m also going to make these in individual portions instead of as one big dish, hence the ramekins.

Peeling/slicing the pears.

Setting up the mixer to cream the butter and sugar.

Separated eggs.

Mixing in the egg yolks one at a time, as instructed.

Added in the flour. At this point, I switched from the whisk (that I used to cream) to the paddle, which I used to mix.

Pulled everything out of the mixer after I worked in the flour, put it in another bowl, and washed/dried the mixer bowl. I also swapped the mixer paddle back for the whisk, since you need a clean/dry bowl and whisk to make meringue.

Folded the “chopped” almonds into the batter.

Folded in the egg whites, which were whipped to “stiff peaks”.

2/3 of the batter goes in the bottom of each ramekin, then the pears, then the rest on top.

Stacked the pear slices in as “nicely” as I could, and then topped each with the batter. Ignore the spinach, that was for 13-15: Vegetarian Lasagna, which I was working on at the same time.

Before baking, I spread out the remaining batter to completely cover the tops, and sprinkled each with the slivered almonds.

After baking. They look good, and like they would taste great…but honestly? I thought they were boring and uninspired, and we only ate two of the six you see here. Would not make again.

Grade: D