Fancy desserts for 2?
April 9, 2021 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I used to give extra desserts away to neighbors but since we’re not out of the woods with Covid yet I’d love recommendations of 1- or 2-serving desserts that take prep, don’t leave leftovers and have multiple ingredients.
posted by rogerroger to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what your specific concerns are regarding COVID, so my apologies if these ideas don't meet your needs.

- Donuts
- Anything that could be prepared and served in individual ramekins, i.e. cheesecake, pudding, creme brulee, small pies
- Cupcakes
- Popsicles
posted by papayaninja at 3:14 PM on April 9, 2021

I would go with the sort of desserts that are served in individual little cups. Flan, custard, mousse, creme brule, etc. Some of these need to be cooked, but some have cooled ingredients put in to set so if you need to use plastic dishes they would work in that as well.

You can also do desserts that would normally need to be cut into pieces in smaller dishes, though often you need a more substantial baking dish. Personally I would factor in how likely I am to get my baking dish back. You can also sometimes find cheaper dishes at the dollar store. Usually for making individual deserts it's not necessary to have identical dishware but it does often make portioning easier.
posted by yohko at 3:16 PM on April 9, 2021

Or wait, maybe you are NOT wanting to give little deserts to the neighbors?

Mug cakes. You are looking for mug cakes.
posted by yohko at 3:18 PM on April 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

I believe the OP is looking for recipes that serve 1-2 people.
posted by nathaole at 3:18 PM on April 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Mini double crust pie for two!

Make a 1 crust batch of your favorite pie pastry. Mark Bittman's pie crust recipe is mine.

Get a 6 inch pie tin (you can find these online if you don't have a local store where you can find them.)

Roll out half of your crust dough and line the pie tin. Fill with your favorite filling and roll out the other half of the dough for the top crust. Bake at the same temperature as you would a larger pie, but it probably won't need as much time in the oven.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 3:26 PM on April 9, 2021

Best answer: Three of my favourite desserts-for-two:

- Fudge Brownie Pots for Two. Fancy it up with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt on top, or top with mini-marshmallows once it's cooked and put it under the broiler until they're toasty.
- Lemon Pudding Cakes for Two. Add fresh berries and a dusting of icing sugar once they're out of the oven.
- Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Puddings for Two. Already fancy and extremely rich! I made it once with pureed cooked carrot instead of pumpkin when the can of pumpkin I was certain I had in my pantry mysteriously vanished. Worked great!
posted by burntflowers at 3:26 PM on April 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

And if a 6 inch pie is too much pie for 2 people well that's news to me.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 3:27 PM on April 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I don't have a specific recipe in mind, but thought of this website: Dessert for Two
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 3:28 PM on April 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Bananas Foster. Make as much or as little as you need. I do it with spiced rum and banana liquor, but there are many recipes on the internet; make it your own.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:29 PM on April 9, 2021

It can take some math but I've been cutting my favorite cookie recipes in fourths or even eighths to make enough cookies for two without many left over. This maple pecan cookie is fancy and insanely delicious.
For recipes with eggs, if you end up needing half an egg, just lightly beat the egg and use half of it.
posted by evilmomlady at 3:31 PM on April 9, 2021

Response by poster: Ha yes, sorry I was unclear - I used to make big batches of desserts to give away but because of distancing, I’m limiting contact with neighbors and just want to make tiny servings.
posted by rogerroger at 3:33 PM on April 9, 2021

Molten chocolate cakes.. Make a full batch of a crumble topping, use some to make a fruit crumble, and put the rest of the topping in the freezer for a quick dessert another night.
posted by slightlybewildered at 4:02 PM on April 9, 2021

I’ve been known to put chocolate chips in the center of flour tortillas, microwave them, and roll them up.

There are probably fancier creative dessert things you could do with tortillas, but these are surprisingly good.
posted by FencingGal at 4:43 PM on April 9, 2021

My solo homemade dessert of choice is fruit crisps/crumbles, usually blueberry this time of year because they're the easiest/cheapest to get frozen. Grease a ramekin or small baking dish, fill with blueberries tossed with sugar and maybe a little cinnamon, top with streusel and bake it at ~375F for around 30 minutes or until bubbly. Turn the oven up at the end if you like your crisp cripsy. Also good with peaches, apples, cherries, other berries (frozen or fresh or whatever), and you can use different types of sugar/spices/flours/nuts in the streusel to mix it up.

I usually make the streusel ahead and keep a container of it in the freezer (with my frozen blueberries) but you can mix it up as needed - it scales well. Most streusel recipes make around two cups of streusel, which will get you 4-8 servings.
posted by mskyle at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2021

This doesn’t meet the letter of your request, but ... scones. Most recipes make around 8 scones, and you can freeze 4-6 of them after you make them and bake from frozen so you don’t end up with too many to eat before they go bad.
posted by A Blue Moon at 6:14 PM on April 9, 2021

I would be overjoyed to receive any of these:
S'mores Dip
S'more Bowls
Mini S'more Pies with Graham Cracker Crust
posted by oxisos at 7:01 PM on April 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Gabrielle Blair’s blog had an entire “Desserts for Two” series a few years back. I’ve never made any of them, but most look really fantastic.
posted by amelioration at 7:36 PM on April 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

My daughter put together cookie dough and froze it; we bake individual servings in ramekins, with a scoop of homemade ice cream on top as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Are there other doughs you could prepare, and freeze the extra in portions?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:30 PM on April 9, 2021

Pepperidge Farm Frozen Turnovers are really good, easy to cook as many or as few as you like. The warning to let them cool a bit before eating - pay attention to that. Or, make pie or pastry crust, fill with fruit & sugar or jam, freeze.
Peel, core, slice a few apples, make crisp topping, bake. Making the topping can be done ahead; it freezes well.
Macaroon recipes scale pretty well, the extra yolk can go in a scrambled or fried egg.
You can make a small bisquick shortbread, pretty much a sweetened biscuit, layer frozen strawberries in syrup, ice cream, fresh strawberries.
Lots of cake recipes can be scaled down to where they need 1 egg, even half an egg if you like scrambled eggs the next day.
posted by theora55 at 5:50 AM on April 10, 2021

Ice cream is my usual answer to this conundrum, or brownies that will still be delicious as leftovers for the next few days.

For something a little fancier, here is Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. It's a chocolate cakey dessert that makes its own fudgy sauce. It's fantastic on its own, or with vanilla ice cream on top. The servings are generous for 2 people, but not ridiculous.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake for Two

1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp baking cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a bread loaf pan (approx 8 x 5 inches, give or take), stir together the dry ingredients for the cake (1/3 c sugar, flour, 2 Tbsp cocoa, baking powder, and salt).
- Mix the wet ingredients (milk, melted butter, and vanilla) into the dry ingredients in the loaf pan, and spread the batter evenly in the bottom of the loaf pan.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together the dry topping ingredients (1/4 cup white sugar, brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp cocoa).
- Sprinkle this sugar/cocoa mix evenly over the batter in the loaf pan. DO NOT STIR IT IN.
- Pour the boiling water slowly over the top of everything, and again, DO NOT STIR. It's going to look atrocious. Have faith.
- Bake 25-30 minutes. There should be some cake-looking stuff on top, surrounded by bubbly fudgy sauce. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before spooning it into 2 bowls. Serve warm, but be careful not to burn your mouth!

- Alternately, if you have a glass loaf pan, you can microwave this at 50% for about 8 minutes instead of baking in the oven. It won't get the slightly crispy top of the baked version, but it's still delicious and certainly faster.
- Once you realize how amazing this is, you can double the recipe and cook it for 35-40 minutes in an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. The leftovers are good the next day, especially if reheated in the microwave.
posted by vytae at 8:26 AM on April 10, 2021

Best answer: Lemon Pavlova can be done in a 2 or 3 person size. Food Wishes published a recipe recently, and I saw a link to mini-pavlovas.

Adam Ragusea had a recent video on how to do creme brulee without a torch. The video shows a 1 person size as well as a 4 person size. Interpolate as you will.

America's Test Kitchen has a Cooking For Two cookbook with 2 chapters on desserts for two.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:52 AM on April 10, 2021

I'm not sure I understand how any desert recipe that doesn't involve cutting open large fruits or opening large cans of stuff that will go bad couldn't be divided for a two person serving. It's just a matter of smaller baking and serving vessels, no?

But, for what it's worth, a chocolate souffle in a couple of ramikens is fancy enough to impress people and only requires throwing out a few ounces of heavy cream after it spoils later (if you use cream as rarely as I do.)
posted by eotvos at 9:10 AM on April 10, 2021

A couple of classics:

Panna Cotta

(these are just random example recipes)
posted by rhizome at 6:24 PM on April 10, 2021

FWIW, SortedFoods channel on Youtube are a couple blokes in London and they often have triple recipe battles where one person does the "instant" (i.e. 5-10 minute version), one does the "with effort version", and the chef comes in with the "how the chef does it version". Both sweet and savory stuff, from a taco to a cheese cake (instant version was in a mug!) and so on. They also sell cookbooks, but that's besides the point. The dessert ones are pretty interesting.
posted by kschang at 11:21 PM on April 10, 2021

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