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First off, let me say that you deserve bigs for what you're going through and dealing with, on top of work! Who can blame you for being frazzled?

We're starting a pumpkin cupcake (with caramel buttercream) next week, and then later, gingerbread cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing. How about cranberry cheesecake on a crushed gingersnap crust (or lemon cheesecake on gingersnaps)? Pear/cranberry or apple/cranberry tarts are nice this time of year -- quince is great if you can get it, and would pair well with ginger. Anything with pumpkin: cheesecake, tart, bread (loved the idea of the pumpkin bread pudding!), brulee...Chocolate and pear work well together -- how about a napoleon with chocolate cream and sliced pears (poached in simple syrup?)

Hang in there! You know we've got your back! :smile:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Pear pairs wondefully with ginger as well. One of my favorite additions to my fall dessert repertoire is a pear ginger pie from Bill Neal's "Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie". The ginger component comes from crystallized ginger and the filling is also flavored with lemon juice and a little tangerine zest.

Don't forget nice apple-based cakes and tarts!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Does anyone have a recipe for whole pears encased in pastry and then baked? I know I've seen that somewhere....

This sounds like a riff on apple dumplings. They are a major comfort food for me. Why don't you look for an apple dumpling recipe, and then do a search for pear pies or other pear desserts, and just kind of adjust the seasonings accordingly? It might require a little tweaking over two or three tries, but for the most part, I'd think it would be close to a straight-across substitution. And don't forget how wonderful cardamom is with pears. . .

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That cranberry upside down cake from Dorie Greenspan's book is very autumnal, and beautiful, to boot. I'd certainly want to eat it if I saw it in a bakery case! And it's easy to make, so you won't have to worry about frou frou tempermental baking projects when your mind is elsewhere.

You're doing admirably given that you're still working while taking care of your mother. But don't forget to take care of yourself, too. Caregivers need care, too!

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Does anyone have a recipe for whole pears encased in pastry and then baked? I know I've seen that somewhere....

Pears Baked in Puff Pastry with Molasses Sauce

You may also like to refer to the pear variation for Apple (Puff Pastry) Turnovers in How to Bake by Nick Maglieri. If you prefer to prepare pears baked in sweetcrust pastry, please consider selecting Forelle pears and serving the desserts with your preferred sauce—perhaps one made with raspberries. Named for its colorful red-and-green freckles, the Forelle, is also known as the Trout Pear (Forelle="trout" in German). At its best, the Forelle is very sweet and juicy -- although sometimes it is hard and tart because it occasionally fails to ripen.

A lovely specialized volume to seek out is The Great Book of Pears (Ten Speed Press, 1999) by Barbara Jeanne Flores.



"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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are you looking specifically for pastry shop type desserts, or do you do plated desserts too?

for the latter, one of my favorite fall desserts is pumpkin tarts. hardly a radical idea, but i think it's a nice change from the traditional deep-dish pumpkin pie. you could also make them as individual-sized tartlets that can be eaten out of hand.

i have a lot of good plated desserts for fall that i can send along if you're doing that kind of thing too.

Notes from the underbelly

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This last month has been all about prunes - that is the fresh one also called Italian plums. Just a few left on the tree, but the freezer is stuffef with halves, so I will continue the fest for a few more months.

The most recent was individual brown butter cakes with a half fruit nestled into the dough before baking. Served with ice cream and fresh plum compote.

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Chocolate-Caramel Tart w/ Poached Pears & Pear-Brandy Gelato

Apple-Blackberry Crisp w/ Almond Streusel & Honey Gelato

Pumpkin Cake w/ Mascarpone Icing & Spiced Cranberry Sauce

More extravagant: Pumpkin Cake…the icing topped with a melange of toasted pecans, dried apricots, candied pumpkin cubes, and poppyseeds.

Individual Pumpkin Upside-Down Cakes served w/ Ginger I.C. & Maple-Caramel Sauce.

Pumpkin-Pecan Tart w/ Orange Sherbet

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake, layered with dark chocolate mousse, served w/ crème anglais and a pirouline cookie

Cranberry-Pear Tart

Orange-Cardamom Pots de Crème served with Pistachio Biscotti

Apple Crisp – Baked heriloom apples, chopped dates, cranberries, dried blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hazelnut maple-butter crumb crust.

Alsatian Plum Tart w/ Cinnamon I.C.

Tangerine Granité w/ Cranberry Compote & Creamsickle Panna Cotta

Pumpkin Crème Caramel served w/ Apple-Cider Syrup & Cinnamon Langues de Chat, Pumpkin-seed Praline. (Beverage: Triple Cream Sherry)

Roasted Pears w/ Brioche Fr. Toast stuffed w/ Mascarpone & stewed fruits.

Kids menu might include a Chocolate Brownie Bread Pudding topped w/ housemade Nutella I.C.

Later in the Fall: Quince Tart served w/ Cardamom I.C. & Pomegranate Sauce

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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Kate Zucherman's The Sweet Life has some beautiful fall desserts. Date cake with toffee sauce, hazlenut cake, apple and quince tart, vanilla, brown butter and almond tea cake, prune armagnac creme brulee, chestnut and amaretti cookie pudding, maple star-anise mousse, brandied dried fig souffle... can you tell i love this book??? You can PM if you would like any recipes, but I think the book is well worth purchasing.

Let us know what you come up with!

Edited by loladrian (log)
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The NY Times described Chef Zuckerman’s desserts as “a life-changing experience.” I'll briefly supplement some of the book's dessert titles mentioned by loladrian, above:

Chocolate-Almond Cracks

Goat-Cheesecake Enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle

Goat Cheese & Purple Basil Soufflé

Maple-Star Anise Mousse

Vanilla, Brown Butter & Almond Tea Cake

Mandarin Ice Cream

Granny Smith Apple, Dried Fig, and Dried Cherry Winter Fruit Compote

Roasted Medjool Dates Stuffed with Cashews, Currants, and Candied Citrus

Barlett Pears Poached in Muscat Wine

Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Espresso Truffles with Walnuts

The enticing chapter headings in The Sweet Life are:




Custards, Puddings, Crèmes, and Mousses


Ice Creams, Sorbets, and Frozen Desserts

Roasted Fruits & Fruit Soups

Chocolates & Candies

Edible Garnishes & Snacks

Sauces & Creamy Accompaniments

Edited by Redsugar (log)

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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my all time favorite fall dessert is roasted pears with a cream pan sauce. it is incredibly simple. it's plated, so i'm no sure if it would work for you. but it could probably be prepared in advance, reheated, and sauced by anyone.

you just roast the pears (bosc work well for this) cored peeled and halved, tossed with generous amounts of butter and sugar. use a hot oven and a pan that works on the stove. when the pears are soft and the sugar at least partially carmelized, set the pears aside, put the pan on the stove and deglaze with cream. strain and add a bit brandy to taste (cognac or poire william work well).

i serve one or two pear halves on a warmed plate or shallow bowl, with a small pool of the sauce.

it's one of those dishes where the natural flavor of the main ingredient and the simplicity give you everything you could ask for.

here's a more involved recipe that's always gotten rave reviews.


you could interpret the creme anglaise with all kinds of fall-friendly seasonings.

some that i've liked are grand marnier, pear and clove, and lapsang souchong tea.

this could also be made in advance and then plated and sauced by anyone.

Notes from the underbelly

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