Cooking Q&A: Fruits can make sophisticated holiday desserts

Q: Do you have any quick winter fruit dessert recipes?

A: Here are several recipes that were shared by Communicating Food for Health. They all look wonderfully delicious to me.

Cranberry-Poached Pears

4 pears, peeled, halved, cored

1 cup cranberries

1 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Splenda (use brown sugar as a substitute)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Place all in microwave container and cover and cook on full power for 6 minutes. Pears are done when tender. Serve warm on a plate or cover and refrigerate for later use.

Sophisticated Poached Pears

8 ounces white grape juice

2 tablespoons strawberry jam

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 cinnamon sticks

5 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4 whole, peeled and cored pears

In a large pot, combine juice, jam, zests and spices. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Place the pears in the liquid. If not covered 3/4 of the way, add water or orange juice to cover. Allow to simmer until pears are just soft. Remove pears and place in individual serving dishes. Allow to cool. Strain poaching liquid. If a hot sauce is desired, return liquid to pot and allow to reduce over low heat until slightly thickened. If a cold sauce is desired, place in a glass or stainless steel dish and allow to freeze until liquid forms a slush. Pour sauce over pears and serve immediately. Serves 4

Citrus Pummelo Cup

1 large pummelo or grapefruit

1 teaspoon warm honey

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Segments of 1 tangerine

Peel, core and de-seed pummelo or grapefruit. Cut into segments and remove seeds and core again as needed. Stack the segments on a plate. Drizzle with warm honey, lime zest and juice. Garnish with tangerine segments. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve in glasses or dessert dishes.

The pummello is a very large fruit that resembles a grapefruit. They are juicy and very sweet.

Apple Ambrosia

2 apples, cored and diced

1/4 cup crushed pineapple in juice, with juice

1 cup light nonfat vanilla yogurt

1 squirt of whipped cream – about 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon toasted almonds, chopped

Mix all together. Cover and chill until ready to use. Serve in glass bowl and top with more crushed pineapple and toasted almonds.


Q: Can you freeze cheese?

A: Hard or semi-hard cheese can be frozen if cut in 1/2 to 1-pound blocks. Wrap in plastic wrap and then put in freezer bags. After freezing, cheese may become crumbly and mealy, but, it will retain its flavor. It works best for cooking.

l The cheeses that freeze best are: brick, Camembert, cheddar, Edam, mozzarella, Muenster, Parmesan, provolone, Romano and Swiss.

l Blue cheeses are more prone to becoming crumbly, but they’ll still taste good.

l Cream cheese and cottage cheese do not freeze well

Plan to use frozen cheese within 4 to 6 months. Thaw cheese in the refrigerator. Use soon after thawing.