Pear Cheese Cups

On September 14, 1995, my oldest daughter and I were planning to leave the next morning to take the youngest daughter on a surprise pre-wedding bachelorette trip to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which had just opened on September 2.  For supper, I made a 9-inch Pear Cheese pie from a recipe in a 1965 Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, using a vanilla wafer crust.  We all enjoyed it very much (and also the bachelorette trip).

Today, I wanted to make a dessert for lunch that would be lower in fat/calories and would make just 4 servings.  I cut the original recipe in half, used vanilla wafers in place of the crust, and made these very good individual Pear Cheese Cups.  Use a deep custard cup – my granddaughter in St. Louis gave me some nice Pampered Chef deep cups which also have lids.  They are especially good for transporting desserts to my daughter’s house for lunch each Friday.

PEAR CHEESE CUPS

  • 4 vanilla wafers
  • 2 cups fresh ripe Bartlett pear slices  (about 3 medium pears)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 oz softened light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • ¼ tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Have four deep custard cups at hand

Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each of 4 deep custard cups.

Place ½ cup of pear slices in each of the cups.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and cream cheese, beat smooth.  Whisk in sour cream, lemon peel, lemon juice, sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg.  Pour over pears in each cup (about ¼ cup each) and spread to cover pears.

Bake @ 375 degrees F about 25 minutes until brown around the edges and just set.  Let cool on a wire rack.

4 servings.  Good room temperature or chilled.  This is a light, delicious dessert. 

Light Pineapple Cheesecake

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we have our traditional leftover dish – Turkey Tetrazzini.  I was looking for a dessert that would be completely different from the rich food we have been eating since Thursday.  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and it fit the bill perfectly.  It is light-tasting and light in calories – 207 calories based on 9 servings.

LIGHT PINEAPPLE CHEESECAKE

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

Filling:

  • 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 8 oz. package low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

To make the crust:

In an ungreased 8-inch baking pan, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Rub  in the butter with your fingertips until mixture is crumbly.

Press the mixture onto the bottom of the 8-inch pan.

Bake @ 325 degrees F for 12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

To make the filling:

Drain the pineapple, pressing down to remove as much juice as possible, reserving the juice (there should be about 1/2 cup of juice); set pineapple and juice aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour.  Add the egg and mix until smooth.  Add the pineapple juice.  Gradually add the milk and vanilla.

Sprinkle the drained pineapple over the baked crust.

Slowly pour the filling over the pineapple.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake @ 325 degrees F for one hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.

Cake is good served at room temperature or chilled.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield:  9 servings



Irish Lemon and Blackberry Sponge Pudding

My oldest daughter made several trips to Ireland and always brought back an Irish cookbook for me.   In May of 1987, she brought home a copy of Irish Country Kitchen and on June 17, I made this wonderful sponge pudding for the first time.  We were living then in rural Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border, and every day I went to our back yard and picked a big bucket of wild blackberries.  I made several kinds of pie, jam, jelly, preserves and was running out of ideas when I tried this recipe.  It took a little adapting because of conversions and size of baking pans, but became a favorite.

This is a simple, light dessert of blackberries with a light sponge cake on top – just right for a summertime meal.

IRISH LEMON AND BLACKBERRY SPONGE PUDDING

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries*
  • 2 Tblsp. butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees F

Have at hand 4 individual casserole dishes.  Mine measure 4-1/2″ diameter across the top and are 2″ deep.

Have a large pan with sides in which you can bake the 4 casseroles.

Heat water for the pan in which casseroles are baked.

Place about 1/2 cup of blackberries on the bottom of each of four individual ungreased baking dishes and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.  Add the lemon juice and lemon peel, beating to blend.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the flour.  In another container, mix the two egg yolks and milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the lemon mixture alternately with the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold into the batter.

Pour the batter over the berries (about 1/2 cup per serving).

Place the puddings in a flat pan with sides holding 1″ of hot water.  Bake the puddings @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30-35 minutes until tops are golden brown and gentle pressure with a finger tip leaves no impression.

Carefully remove pans from hot water and place on a rack to cool. 

*I can’t say whether frozen blackberries would work in this dish or not.  The original recipe called for fresh and that’s all I’ve ever used.

We like this dessert slightly warm or at room temperature.

We used to love this as our dessert after having a supper of a serving of meat and multiple servings of vegetables fresh from the garden (like new potatoes, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, green onions, leaf lettuce, radishes, etc.).