My dear hubs called me at 3p on a weekday and said, “Hey honey, my boss is in town and is going to come over for dinner – is that ok?” If you know anything about me, you know that I would typically take this as an opportunity to have a TOTAL freak out – which would include, but would not be limited to, rushing home from work, cancelling my pre-planned work out, and feeling absolutely out of sorts. Instead – surprising even myself – I calmly said, “Ok! No problem!” Why? Well, I may never fully understand why – but I just *knew* I could handle the situation.

So, I went to my yoga class after work, sauntered home, and surveyed the kitchen. I already had pork going in the crockpot for the carnitas dinner I had in mind – and my recent grocery shopping meant I had plenty of toppings and sides to make a full meal. What I didn’t have was dessert.

About this time I began wishing I had one of those cookbooks from the 1940s and 1950s that would show me how to stretch my 2-person meal into a 3-person meal, and how to do it with a smile on my face, a chiffon apron on, and a cocktail at the ready! But, alas, all I had was my brain – and the privilege of watching the Red Hen effortlessly throw together dinners and desserts all my life! She also taught me to always keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, so I had everything I needed to make pear crostada. It was perfect and turned out deliciously – I forgot to take a picture until it was almost too late!

So – here’s the recipe that will save you from certain disaster (or a box of cookies) should you have surprise dinner guests:

Pear Crostada

4 pears, sliced thinly (if you prefer brown or red pears, peel them first)
1/2 c sugar (or Splenda)
1 tbsp tapioca/corn starch/flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
a handful of chopped pecans
pie crust or pastry dough

Mix dry ingredients, then add to pears.

If a pie crust – pour in and sprinkle with confectioners sugar (substitute: clear sprinkles like for decorating cupcakes)

If pastry dough – lay out and pile pears in the middle. Pull each corner to the middle, wetting if you need the extra stickiness. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Bake at 400* for 30 minutes, and voila! A gorgeous crostada that will impress any crowd (and be a delicious addition to the next morning’s breakfast!).