Blue Apron is doing something new for the holiday season: adding desserts into its recipe rotation. The meal kit delivery service has two new options for the week of Thanksgiving: a Pear Pie with Spiced Crumble Topping and a Fig and Walnut Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake. Ahead of their official launch next week, we got the new desserts delivered, baked them and tried them.
Two Daily Meal editors each took one of the desserts home and baked them in our tiny Brooklyn kitchens. Just note, Blue Apron does its job best when extra kitchen gadgets aren’t necessary, but these desserts both needed some equipment that the most novice bakers may not have lying around. The pear pie, for instance, needed a citrus zester, and the cornmeal upside-down cake required a 9x11 or 8x8 casserole dish and a whisk.
Baking these desserts was quite simple. The upside-down cake was basically a dump cake — the hardest part was chopping up sticky figs and making sure the caramel sauce didn’t burn.
The pear pie had a few more steps, and our cook’s lack of a zester made the process of zesting the lemon slightly more time consuming than it should have been. Prepping the pears was also a mildly tedious task. However, the premade crust helped to save the annoying process of making a pie crust from scratch. Overall, making the Blue Apron desserts took less time than the recipe cards called for, making them a quick and easy dessert to bring to a holiday party.
So, these dishes are simple to whip up, but how did they taste?
First, it should be noted that both desserts had optional nut toppings that we did not include due to one taster having an allergy. The upside-down cake featured walnuts that could have been toasted and included alongside the figs and golden raisins topping, and the pear pie included almonds in the crumble. Though optional, it seemed like an oversight that both desserts would include tree nuts, one of the most common food allergies in America. So, we can’t say how the nuts impact these dishes, for better or for worse.
While cozy and encompassing the flavors of fall, these desserts mostly failed to pass our taste test, especially when considered a part of a Thanksgiving feast. “I'm a picky eater so this is like my worst nightmare,” one taster commented. “The cornbread is not bad but my stomach is definitely unsettled by the stuff on top of it. The pie was pretty good, the pears are very fresh but once again (as a picky eater) I found myself picking out the currants.”
Notably, both desserts were packed with butter, making them very rich. The primary flavor in the cornbread upside-down cake was butter, and that rich flavor paired with the lemons also overpowered the pears and spices in the pie.
Blue Apron’s new desserts are available to pre-order before Nov. 19 and will be delivered the week of Thanksgiving. The desserts are not an extra dish, but instead are two offerings of Blue Apron’s signature menu, which has eight total recipe choices every week.
If you’re hosting a Friendsgiving or a normal dinner party this November, these desserts would be a welcome addition. But on a holiday full of classic flavors, these dishes seemed to be over-thought despite the simplicity in putting them together. If you need to bring something to Thanksgiving but lack the kitchen skills, space or desire to put together something more complicated, perhaps consider these Thanksgiving dishes that are best bought at the store.