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.
Today is Independence Day here in the U.S., so let’s do one of my favorite desserts and recipes from this book, 14-8: Baked Alaska. Obviously Simply Delicious didn’t invent this dish–it’s an American dessert that’s existed since Civil War times and is so well known you can even make it as a Sim.
I have a history with this particular version of the dish, however. I first made it as my “showstopper” dessert for a big family dinner I cooked as a teenager (along with a similarly-aged family friend) many years ago.
I also taught about 200 K-8 kids (ages 5-13ish) how to make this recipe and several others as part of an after-school cooking class program that was one of my first teaching-related jobs. I’ve been waiting YEARS to write this one, so now it’s your turn with it.
When I made 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp, I decided to try to knock out a bunch of recipes at once, thinking I could just buy a few pounds of shrimp and save myself multiple trips to the store. One of the other shrimp recipes I made was this one, 12-21: Luxury Rice with Shrimp.
One of the glaring problems with this theory is that shrimp goes bad QUICKLY, and unless you want to cook/eat a ton of shrimp all at once, you might not end up using all of it in time.
This is what happened to me, and I ended up having to toss a bunch of the shrimp (which was on sale–BIG red flag) before I could even use it and buy more (not on sale this time 💰💰). So much for trying to reduce my environmental and financial impact.
Consider that before you attempt my idea. Also, make sure the recipe is worth it–this one was not even worth rebuying the shrimp, in my opinion.
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.
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.
The editors of Simply Delicious love to write a common type of recipe that includes the act of putting meringue on top of a fruit filled pie. 14-19: Old-Fashioned Apple Meringue is a mistake with all but the classic lemon custard version of a meringue pie. Apple and cherry do not carry a meringue the same way in my opinion.
The meringue clouds in the example photo would probably have been the ideal presentation method, however, my meringue came out runny so it didn’t clump very well. I was lucky that it cooked to a hard crust.
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.
14-14: Sliced Pineapple with Nut Meringue is a unique desert. It was actually fairly tasty, just not something I would have thought to put together. This interesting dish has multiple textures, flavors, and temperatures which all interact nicely. I love raspberry, pineapple, and meringue, but I never thought to combine them, especially this way. 🍍
Meringue is probably one of my favorite applications of eggs in cooking. Egg whites only, but still a great use of eggs.
Cold desserts are not my area of expertise, but I gave it a shot for this recipe. ❄ 15-18: Chocolate Favorites were a hit! I really just got a kick out of saying “Chocolate Favorite” when describing these little treats. 🍫
Bite sized pastries are the best! These two layers did come out as intended, a one-two punch of chocolate flavors. This recipe did indeed make me want to rejoice. 😆