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.
Let’s get the first question out of the way right now. Compôte means “mixture” in French, so 15-20: Apple Compôte is essentially fancy applesauce. Don’t even worry about exerting the effort to mash the apples–these are just syrupy slices.
Some of you might have thought of pie filling when you saw “compôte”–I know I did. There’s actually differences between jam, jelly, preserves, conserves, and compote–I still don’t know if this iteration matches up with their definition, but here’s a recipe from my same trusted source (Serious Eats/Stella Parks) for essentially the same thing we’re making here.
I’ve used this project as an excuse to make dishes to share at work before. This time, I made 16-45: Raspberry Tartlettes for a quarterly staff meeting. I had a colleague that was interested in trying vegan recipes and another that required gluten-free dishes, so I tried to incorporate both in this attempt.
Still working my way through the backlog–we’re up to Easter with 15-26: Strawberry Pastries. Strawberries start to creep up everywhere in the springtime, and this dessert dish is a pretty classic use of them. 🍓
This recipe suggests using vanilla custard, but I’ve seen other similar recipes use fillings like Bavarian cream or crème fraîche. This is essentially a fancier version of strawberry shortcake (which often uses whipped cream), so I suppose it’s all dependent on how heavy or light you’d like to go with it. 🍰
A few months ago, I made two Simply Delicious almond cakes for work: this one, 16-26: Elegant Almond Cake and 16-33: Crispy Almond Cake. I think this one came out prettier, but they were both delicious.
Simply Delicious doesn’t mention this in their blurb, but it’s also great for accompanying coffee or tea on a Wednesday morning at the office. They also refer to this dish as a cake, but it’s very clearly a tart. To confirm, here’s a recipe from King Arthur Flour that is essentially this exact same dish (referred to a tart) but with raspberries instead of Maraschino cherries.
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.
I bet you thought I abandoned this project. You’d be wrong–I just started a few others and let this one get a bit dusty. After almost 5 years, I’m still plugging along, and will be until I finish this damn thing. I don’t even know when I cooked this, but here’s 16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie.
I know I cooked it sometime in 2018, and I know that I wanted to attempt a vegan version (which didn’t go well). I think I was making it to bring to work, but I have a feeling it never made it there. Looking over the pictures of it, I think I know why.
A few months ago, we celebrated Pi Day in my office. Most of the pies were store-bought, but I decided to flip through Simply Delicious and see if there was anything worth contributing. I decided on 16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie–everyone likes chocolate, and we had had a mishap with the lemon meringue pie on the way back from the store while preparing the day before.
If you’re not familiar with Pi Day, it takes place on March 14th, which when written as a numeric date is 3-14 (at least in the U.S. it is–some countries reverse the order). Pi (the mathematical constant represented by the Greek letter π) is usually rounded up to 3.14, so March 14th is celebrated with actual pies (and a bit of math) as a play-on-words. 😂
No one really needs an excuse to eat pie, but “It’s a math joke” is certainly an acceptable one.
Looking for an easy weeknight dinner? 11-19: Oven-Baked Red Snapper will remind you of the all-too-familiar crunchy oven-baked chicken, but with a lighter fishy twist. If you find yourself with some fish filets (red snapper not required), give this one a try.
Another way to look at this: a more elegant presentation of fish sticks. 🐟
8-36: Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce was the first of two beef tenderloin recipes I made on the same night. The other dish, 8-22: Beef Tenderloin with Whole Garlic, was a completely different preparation. It was interesting to cook it two different ways and compare the final product.
Utilizing an onion-mustard marinade resulted in a completely different flavor than in the other tenderloin recipe. The beef was not marinated at all in the other recipe. If I had to choose, I prefer the marinated beef from this recipe because it was more tender.