The Ultimate Battle

The constant dispute between R* and I is whether dessert should be chocolaty or fruity. Sometimes we can compromise with a combination, but most of the time I crave a large slice of chocolate cake or a light and airy tower of chocolate mousse, while his stomach grumbles for a glazed fruit tart or caramel-covered bananas. Any true chocolate-lover can understand what a strain this puts on our relationship.

I. Need. My. Chocolate.

He’s learning to understand this.

In the meantime, I draw upon the age-old skills of sharing and compromise and occasionally agree to a fruit-centric dessert. Inspired by a recipe we found in a cookbook, we decided to take advantage of the deliciously juicy pears that are in season and bake them. The original recipe called for some sort of store-bought custard on top, which didn’t sound good to either of us, so we improvised for the most part. The pears were ripe and baked quickly, and though the recipe said to baste the pears with the cooking liquid throughout the baking time, I found the liquid stuck to the bottoms and was too gloppy to baste with. In the end, we topped the pears with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a sprinkle of lemon zest.

I will admit, reluctantly, that it was a fantastic, quick and easy dessert that did satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner. The cold ice cream melting over the hot pear was a delicious combination and the lemon zest kept it from being overly sweet. The recipe said to count on one pear per serving, but we both felt that was a larger portion than we could handle.

If you have a similar struggle in your relationship, I encourage you to try this recipe as it seems to be an adequate compromise. Maybe next time I’ll drizzle some chocolate sauce on top… [insert evil laugh here: muah ha ha ha].

Baked Pears

4 ripe pears
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 Tbs. butter or nonfat spread
2 Tbs. lemon zest

Optional Garnishes: vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, etc.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and core each pear and place cored side down in a baking dish. Brush lemon juice on top of pears, covering completely. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until completely combined into a syrup-like texture. Make sure not to burn the liquid. Pour sauce over pears and put in oven for about 20 minutes or until pears are soft. If the sauce is not too thick, try to baste the pears once or twice during the cooking time.

To serve, place 1 or 2 pears on a dessert plate or bowl. Drizzle with extra sauce from pan and top with ice cream and lemon zest.

Yield: 4-6 servings

*Please note: the man previously referred to as “my boyfriend” will henceforth be referred to as R per his request. I think he thinks I’m going to say something embarrassing about his cooking that can be traced back to him… but he lets me take pictures of his food, so we’ll humor him.

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