Tarts for Two, Me and You!
Dessert for Two is an optimistic book for a person like me. It is optimistic that I will have a special someone (besides my book or cat) to share dessert with. It is also optimistic that I have enough self-control to consume a single portion of dessert. I actually tend to double up on sweets. Not every day, but when I do go for sweet, I go all in. So this book was perfect for me, single woman that I am.
The author and writer of the blog Dessert for Two, Christina Lane, had similar issues. It is tough to be a baker when you live alone. Yes, you can put extra treats in the freezer. Or make a batch of something and eat for a week. But when cooking and baking keep you occupied every day you just keep having to stockpile extras and get to the next recipe you are testing. If you did make full batches your freezer would get filled to the gills. So you are stuck either foisting your baked goods off on others—and that’s tough to do if, like me, you are not going to a regular day job—or cutting down the recipes into halves, quarters, or even eighths.
Reducing recipes is tricky. Sometimes you cannot just cut the ingredients in half, particularly with baked goods that involve leavening. Something about the interaction between ingredients changes in small batches. You have to change ingredient ratios too. I am making this sound way complicated, and it actually is! Baking is a science. Fortunately, Lane did the field research for us and put it in her book.
She’s got small batches of cookies, brownies for two, even pies you bake in mason jar lids. A lot of small-batch tarts are baked in mini muffin tins, and cakes in 6-inch pans. This book will give you many excuses to stock up on adorable bakeware. Petite pies are SO fetching. Still gonna make fetch a thing.
As the season is changing, and cravings move from rich and hearty to light and fruity, I thought the little lime tarts Lane calls Frozen Margarita Tarts would be a good recipe to share. The part that makes them “margarita” is the tequila in the topping. If you aren’t into alcohol or are underage that part is optional. Plain whipped cream is also grand. Even Cool Whip in a bind. However the whole recipe takes 1/6 oz. of tequila. You could probably get more trashed on vanilla extract. The other part of the recipe that makes these “margaritas” is the pretzel crust, which fulfills the role of a margarita’s salted rim: it counters the sweet-tart lime center effectively. The cream topping is the foil to all these strong flavors, tying them up like a tasty, tiny metaphorical bow. When I have a person to share these with, I will. In the meantime they are all mine! And yours. Enjoy!
Frozen Margarita Tarts adapted from Dessert for Two by Christina Lane
- 1 cup pretzel twists (Despite being a gluten lover for some reason I bought gluten-free Glutinos pretzel twists, they surprised me-good stuff!)
- 3 Tbsp. melted butter, plus some to grease your pans
Lime curd filling:
- 1.4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice (PLEASE squeeze it fresh)
- zest of one small lime (pro tip: zest the lime before you cut it open to squeeze the juice
- 1 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 drop green food coloring (optional!)
- 3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. tequila
- Or if you are me being lazy, as I was, stir a bit of tequila into some Cool Whip
- 6 pretzel twists
Grease 6 mini muffin tins with some butter. For crust, pulverize the pretzels in the food processor until there is a lot of fine powder, but some larger chunks. Or put them in a baggie and grab a hammer. It’s louder and less elegant but it works. Add the butter and stir in. Divvy between the muffin cups and press into the bottom. Put in freezer for at least and hour.
For filling, stir sugar, egg, lime juice, zest, butter and optional food coloring together and put in the microwave. Lane says to microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir, and repeat this process until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon-about three times. HOWEVER the first time I did this, microwaving on high cooked the egg white into solid chunks, so you may not want to microwave not on power. Put the filling in a bowl, press plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate until cold, around an hour.
When all is chilled and set, divide the lime filling between the crusts. In a medium bowl whip the cream until gentle peaks form, stir in the powdered sugar and optional tequila, then spread atop of the lime filling. Lastly, garnish each tart with a twist! Put the tarts in the freezer for at least an hour for everything to set. When you are ready, run a knife around the edge of the tart to loosen and turn out. Then eat!