Fruit Desserts

Approaching winter doesn't mean you have to abandon the tasty world of fruits and resort to the heavier desserts often associated with the darker, chillier months. Surprise the after dinner crowd with an unexpected fruit dessert.

Poached Pears

  • 4 Bosc pears
  • 2 cups fruit juice (use a cranberry-based juice for the added flavor)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • dash of lemon juice

Simmer fruit juice, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Peel and core the pears. Cut into slices. Place sliced pears into the poaching liquid. Simmer uncovered over low heat for approximately 20 minutes, or until tender. You can either cool in the refrigerator and serve cold, or serve warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon or scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.

Bananas Foster

This is truly one dish that is superb cooked in the microwave. With the exception of the crowning touch, which is best done by hand. You can make this whole dish in about 5 minutes and it looks marvelous.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large bananas, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons orange liquer
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • french vanilla ice cream

Melt the butter in a 1 quart casserole. Roll the bananas in the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar and the cinnamon over the bananas. Microwave for 2-1/2 minutes on high or until the sugar begins to melt. Poor the liquer and rum over the hot bananas. Ignite. When the flame dies down serve over ice cream.

Blueberry and Raspberry Charlotte

Use frozen berries to make this in winter. The Charlotte is the English predecessor of the Brown Betty. Why Charlotte became Betty, no one knows. Why Charlotte or Betty in the first place no one knows for sure either. There is a theory, or several, about Charlotte; but Betty remains the mysterious woman. Some devotees of Goethe feel that it was named after the heroine in Werther. Others feel it is an Anglicized mispronunciation of schaleth; a Hebrew fruit puree that is spiced and covered with a crust. About the time that the Charlotte appeared in England, Charlotte was the Queen, so pick your choice. It's a delicious and simple way to celebrate these berries.

  • 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
  • 1 pint (2 cups) raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 8 or 9 slices of hearty homemade bread* *Charlotte is made with bread slices; Betty is made with bread crumbs.

Preheat your oven to 350; In two small saucepans, place the berries. To each add 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon tapioca, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Heat for about 10 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit has released its juice. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter (optional). While the fruit is cooking, trim the slices of bread into squares, wasting as little as possible. Cut each square into thirds so you have pieces about 1" x 3". Place bread on bottom and sides of an 8-1/2 " X 4-1/2" bread pan. The pieces on the sides should be upright.

Pour the raspberries on the first layer of bread. Place a layer of bread slices on top of the raspberries. Pour the blueberries on top of the second layer of bread slices. Put final layer of slices on top and sprinkle it gently with sugar. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

If you're going to serve this hot, it's best to serve it from the pan as it won't keep it's shape if you turn it out. Serve it with cold whipped cream, lightly sweetened. If you want to chill it, serve it with a warm custard sauce.

Custard Sauce
This recipe resembles a thick white sauce and will make about 1-1/2 cups.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the egg and yolk, sugar and salt together. In a double boiler, or very carefully in a saucepan, barely heat the milk. Pour a little into the egg mixture, blend it together and pour this back into the saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring with a wire whisk without letting it come to a boil or it will curdle. When it begins to thicken, remove the pan from heat and stir occasionally to cool it and prevent it from developing skin. When it's almost cool, add your choice of flavoring. (If it should curdle, you can whirl it in a blender and fool just about everyone.) Serve warm over the chilled Charlotte.

Cherries Darlette

Even though cherries are now out of season, you can make this simple dessert using fresh apples or pears, or bananas. This relatively quick and oh-so-simple dessert is basically a flan that can showcase any number of fruits. You can use mixtures, such as blueberries and peaches, strawberries and bananas, plums and apricots, or stick with just one type of fruit.

  • 3 cups pitted cherries, washed berries, or peeled and sliced peaches, plums, apricots, apples, bananas, etc.
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly grease a 9" pan. With a mixer, beat the eggs until foamy. Beat in the milk and the extract. Add the sugar and beat until it's well incorporated. Add the flour slowly, beating well after each addition to break up any lumps. Place the fruit in the prepared dish and pour the custard batter over it. Bake for 45 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 8 slices.

The last two recipes are courtesy of King Arthur Flour. Reprinted here with permission.

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