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Exotic Treatments for Versatile Fruit : Luscious Desserts Begin With a Can of Pears

October 15, 1987

A supply of canned pears on the pantry shelf can be the beginning of some luscious desserts. The delicate-flavored fruit combines well with other ingredients in recipes that are easy and flavorful.

Chop the pears and fold into a velvety filling of cream cheese, beaten eggs whites, whipped cream and softened gelatin. Then add lemon juice, orange liqueur and grated orange peel for a lively accent. Pour the mixture into a graham cracker crumb crust, chill and garnish Refrigerator Pear Cheesecake with pear and orange slices in a shimmering glaze.

The chopped fruit may also be cooked with vanilla pudding and pie filling, then lightened with whipped cream for the filling to Pear Pudding Pie. Pour into a baked pie crust and chill until firm.

Heat pear halves in some of their own juice, butter, sugar, lemon juice and orange peel, then enhance with orange liqueur before serving over vanilla ice cream. The halves may also be baked with a topping of meringue and chopped almonds for a warm ending to a dinner.

REFRIGERATOR PEAR CHEESECAKE

1 (29-ounce) can pear halves

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

3 eggs, separated

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Graham Cracker Crust

2 orange slices, halved

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Drain pears, reserving 1 1/4 cups syrup. Set aside 2 pear halves. Chop remaining pears.

Soften gelatin in 1 cup reserved pear syrup in top of double boiler. Beat in egg yolks, sugar and salt. Cook, stirring, over hot water until slightly thickened.

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in gelatin mixture, lemon juice, orange liqueur and orange peel.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture with whipped cream. Fold in chopped pears. Pour into Graham Cracker Crust and chill 4 to 6 hours until firm.

Slice reserved pears and arrange alternately with orange slices on top of cheesecake. Combine remaining 1/4 cup reserved pear syrup, orange juice and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and clear. Cool to room temperature. Spoon over top of cheesecake. Chill.

To serve, remove sides of pan. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Place in freezer 20 to 30 minutes until firm.

PEAR PUDDING PIE

1 (16-ounce) can pear halves

1 (5-ounce) package vanilla pudding and pie filling

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

1 (9-inch) baked pastry shell

Drain pears, reserving 1/2 cup syrup. Chop pears. Combine pudding mix and milk. Add chopped pears and reserved syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to boil.

Remove from heat. Blend in butter, vanilla and nutmeg. Cool.

Fold in whipped cream. Pour mixture into pie shell. Chill. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

PEARS A L'ORANGE

1 (29-ounce) can pear halves

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

Vanilla ice cream

Drain pears, reserving 1/2 cup syrup. Heat reserved syrup, butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and orange peel in saucepan. Add pears and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Blend in liqueur. Serve warm over vanilla ice cream. Makes 4 servings.

PEAR CLOUD DESSERT

1 (29-ounce) can pear halves

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 egg whites

Dash salt

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Drain pears, reserving 1/3 cup syrup. Place pear halves, cut side up, in shallow baking pan. Add reserved syrup.

Combine brown sugar, lemon peel and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture evenly over pear halves. Beat egg whites and salt until almost stiff. Gradually add powdered sugar, continuing to beat until stiff.

Pile meringue evenly over pear halves. Sprinkle meringue with chopped almonds. Bake at 325 degrees 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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