Monday, May 21, 2012

Little things Mean a Lot


In the past decade, small desserts have made a big impact on our culinary consciousness.  Cupcakes, cake pops, donuts, and whoopie pies have all been front and center in this movement.  Artistic displays at weddings and parties include beautifully crafted individual desserts, trifles in shot glasses and even slices of ice cream that look like sushi.

What's great about these little treats, in my opinion, is that you get variety, big flavor impact and best of all less calories than their full sized counterparts. If you have one cupcake for example, when it's done, it's done; no shaving off slices of a big cake to "even things out". You can also sample a few different desserts for the same caloric impact of one regular sized dessert.  Plus they are just cute!

I recently made key lime pie without the actual pie part. I am totally in love with my ramekins, and think just about anything you make in them is attractive.  So I decided to just bake the best part of the pie--the filling-- in the ramekin. The result was something that tasted like a cross between a mousse and a souffle. The taste...divine!  It had the full flavor impact of key lime pie, yet spared me of a couple of hundred calories from the crust.

So mix it up this Shavuot and try baking your cheesecake in ramekins, serve with fresh fruit and whipped topping for a lighter dessert.  You can also make cheesecake parfaits by baking the cheesecake filling in a 9x13 inch pan for about half the time specified in the recipe, then layer it with fruit filling in tall shot glasses or mini parfait cups.

For something new, check out my Tropical Breeze Mango-Coconut Cheesecake on!

Enjoy and Chag Sameach!

This recipe calls for seemingly long beating times for the eggs and sweetened condensed milk, but it is worth it! The result is the absolutely fluffiest key lime pie filling ever.

 Key Lime Dessert Cups

This is adapted from a recipe for Key Lime Pie from The Beachwalk Cafe featured in Relish magazine.

4 large egg yolks
1/2 Tbsp. of grated lime rind
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (light version is fine)
1/2 cup fresh or bottled lime juice (not concentrated; I use bottled key lime juice)
1 cup chilled whipping or heavy cream (optional)
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (optional)
1 lime sliced thinly, for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.  Spray 6-8 4-or 6-ounce ramekins with non-stick cooking spray and set on a cookie sheet.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and lime rind on high speed for 8 minutes; the eggs will appear light yellow and fluffy. Slowly add sweetened condensed milk and beat an additional 7 minutes.  Add lime juice and beat 2 minutes more.

Pour batter into ramekins within 1/4-inch of top of each ramekin.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set.  Allow to cool, then chill 8 hours. 

Beat chilled whipping cream with powdered sugar on high with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use.

Top chilled key lime cups with sweetened whipped cream and lime slices.

If you desire a "full sized" dessert, you may pour key lime filling into a coconut crust, and bake as above for 12-15 minutes.