Desserts, oh, desserts. How we love them so. It seems like there's a place reserved in our stomachs for dessert, no matter how full we may be.
And there are so many sophisticated notions making the rounds these days for those with adventurous spirits: crème brulee, molten chocolate cakes, sage-infused ice cream.
But then there are "comfort" desserts, ones that we might remember from childhood, from simpler times. Introduce them to your family and they might just forget about recipes like "Seven Layer Boysenberry Terrine with Rosewater Syrup Adorned with Fresh Peppermint" -- and the like.
41/2 cups peeled, sliced Delicious apples
3/4 cup whole cranberry sauce
3/4 cup flour, sifted
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbsps. margarine (or less)
Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange apples in a lightly greased 8-inch-square baking dish. Cover with cranberry sauce.
Combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut margarine into flour mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple-cranberry mixture.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm or cold.
(Dairy or Pareve)
Nothing simpler and nothing more comforting. Many variations are possible -- mix in crushed nuts, granola, raisins or even blueberries. You do need apples that will keep their shape when baked. Try Jonagold, Fuji and Pink Lady.
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsps. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsps. margarine or butter
Preheat oven to 350°.
Peel skin off top quarter of each apple. Scoop out the core, leaving bottom intact. Stand up apples in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or in a muffin tin.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Fill apple cavities with sugar mixture. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup into each. Scatter 3 tablespoons butter pieces over apples.
Bake for 50 minutes.
Minnesota Baked Rice Pudding
Hint: Microwave the rice and you'll have one less pot to wash, or use leftover rice.
2 cups milk
pinch of salt
6 Tbsps. sugar (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp. melted butter (or margarine)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup white raisins, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325°.
Beat milk, salt, sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs until well blended. Pour into a well-greased baking dish and stir in rice, raisins and lemon juice. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.
Bake for 50 minutes or until lightly browned and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Plum Bread Pudding
Although I haven't made a scientific survey, I think homemakers used to be more conscious of not wasting food in the past, especially bread. This recipes uses up leftover Shabbat challah or any other bread. Substitute other fresh, canned (make sure they're well drained) or even dried fruits for the plums.
nonstick cooking spray
8 cups dry challah, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes (about 8 thick slices)
6 Santa Rosa plums, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 quart milk
5 eggs, beaten
2 tsps. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3-4 Tbsps. plum (or substitute other fruit) jelly
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 4-quart, ovenproof casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place bread cubes, plums and raisins in casserole dish. Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over bread cube mixture. Mix well. Swirl plum jelly through mixture.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until set.
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 45 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org .