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 you were around in the 1980s-1990s, you may remember the obsession with low-fat everything, and finding ways to make “sinful indulgences” into something “guilt-free“. Note the deliberate choice of words, and that we still use that type of psychological framing around food today (and have been for a long time, even prior to the era in question).
The “low-calorie swap” in 16-42: Easy Lime Pie is cottage cheese, which was all the rage in the 1970s as a “healthy” option, but could still be found in a lot of recipes throughout the 80s and 90s.
I feel like even Simply Delicious didn’t really know how to make this pie sound appealing–do you think halved grapes as a garnish can be considered something notable? You can definitely tell this particular recipe was aimed at the dieting/low-calorie crowd.
A nice, cool parfait is the perfect dish for summertime. Raspberry and lemon are two of my favorite flavors and they blend together nicely to create this creamy dessert. My version of 15-29: Raspberry-Lemon Parfait will look much different from what you see here, but it is equally as delicious even though it is lactose-free.
The set designer and photographer did a particularly good job of staging the photo for this recipe card. The fresh raspberries and lemon rind really add a nice pop of color. The choice of tablecloth, wine, grapes, and flowers each provide a nice contrast to the yellow and white creamy colors of the dish and the parfait itself.
Editor’s note: This entry was written last summer, but didn’t get posted until now.
Here’s one of the last few recipes left from the chapter on baked goods, Group 17: Baked Goods. I made 17-14: Nutty Muffins for work–I thought they’d make a nice accompaniment to everyone’s morning coffee. ☕️
See? Even Simply Delicious shows them being served with coffee. Wikipedia offers a deeper dive on the history of muffins if you’re interested/bored. There’s a difference between these types of muffins (referred to as “quickbread” muffins or “American” muffins due to the fact that they’re very similar to a cupcake or other types of sweet, dense, cake-like bread) and the traditional “English” muffins that you get with Eggs Benedict or an Egg McMuffin.
I had mentioned in 16-24: French Chocolate Cake that it was one of two desserts that I made for a recent baby shower I attended: 16-39: Apricot Tart was the second dessert. I’ve been meaning to make this thing since near the start of this project, and it only took me a few years to finally get around to it. There’s something about this recipe and procrastination, though–this entry’s been sitting in my writing queue half-finished for over a month.
For the length of time that it took me to make it (and to write about it), I never even got to try it–I ended up leaving this and 16-24: French Chocolate Cake still wrapped up on the table at the party. We’ll just assume that both of them were delicious and everyone ate every last crumb of them.
I recently attended a baby shower for a former co-worker and took it as an opportunity to knock out two more Simply Delicious desserts: 16-39: Apricot Tart and this one, 16-24: French Chocolate Cake. I wanted to bring something fruit/nut and something just plain chocolate, since some people there had nut allergies and others might just want something simple and chocolate.
This was a combination birthday party/baby shower (same person being honored for both), which will hopefully explain the odd decorations on my version of the cake. I’ve spared you pictures of the worst of my decoration choices, but let’s just say I made liberal use of all 4colors of a grocery store icing kit. I kept meaning to hit a craft store for better cake decorations (or even Amazon), but time got away from me. ⏳
No, this isn’t a repeat of 16-47: Orange-Almond Pie–at least, not exactly. 16-14: Orange-Almond Cake uses almond paste while the pie version used almond meal (flour). This one also includes dark chocolate, which ALWAYS goes well with almond and orange flavors. 🍫
In the interest of not eating the whole cake at once (which is possible with something like this), I’m going to bake 12 individual cakes instead with a mini-Bundt pan that I have. That way, I can make them all, wrap and freeze them so that we can pull out a portioned piece for dessert without the temptation of eating the whole thing.
Here’s a simple dessert that’s easy for a dinner, gift, or even just a snack. 16-9: Raspberry Tart is exactly what it sounds like–pie crust in a tart pan filled with raspberry preserves and topped with bits of dough. Simply Delicious uses a simple drop method for the dough topping, but I think we can do better than that. 🌟
Why did anyone think that amorphous blobs of dough were an acceptable tart topping? 🤷♀️