If you follow my blog regularly, you will remember that I recently celebrated completing two years of posting here with a give-away of Petite Sweets: Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth by Beatrice Ojakangas.
I chose that particular book for two reasons. The first reason being that I have a couple of Ms. Ojakangas’s books and have found her recipes extremely do-able. The recipes I have tried have always turned out well.
The second reason was that the idea of bite sized desserts sounded very good to me. It seems like the perfect way to have your dessert and eat it without feeling guilty about it. In my opinion it’s definitely the way to go whether one is baking dessert for the home or for a large number of guests.
The publishers of this book, Sellers Publishing, came across my giveaway post and were kind enough to send me a copy of Petite Sweets (and a couple of other books too). Having gone through the book, I know this is one that I am happy to have on my cook-book shelf.
Beatrice Ojakangas, a James Beard Award winner, has 26 cookbooks and articles in various magazines to her credit. She has also featured on television series “Baking With Julia” and “The Baker’s Dozen.
In her introduction to Petite Sweets, Ms. Ojakangas mentions that downsizing desserts to bite-size servings solves the “one and four syndrome” (one dessert and four forks!) as well as the “sliver syndrome” (I’ll have a sliver of this and a sliver of that!). Given the general trend towards healthier lifestyles, rich and sweet food is definitely not what the doctor ordered. Yet who can stay away from deliciously tempting desserts?
So with Petite Sweets, Beatrice Ojakangas provides a solution in the form of bite-sized desserts. In this book she presents 50 recipes, with almost as many beautiful photographs, for making delicious bite-sized desserts at home. She hasn’t forgotten chocoholics like me either, while putting her recipes together for this book.
The recipes are well presented, quite easy to make, and mostly require ingredients easily available in an average baker’s kitchen.
The recipes in the book are presented and categorized under Little Cakes; Petite Pies and Tarts; Fruit and Berry Desserts; Mousses and Chilled Desserts; Creams, Custards, and Frozen Desserts; and Pastries and Sweets. Many of the recipes in this book are mini versions of all time favourites like Velvet Cake, Rum Babas, Whoopie Pies, Bread Oudding and Crème Puffs to mention a few. The recipes in this book range from simple, homely comfort food at one end to very fancy desserts.
As she does in her other books, she also provides an insight into how she arrives at her bite-sized desserts with advice on how one could downsize one’s own choice of dessert.
The only down side to this book, as I see it, is that most of the desserts would require small sized tins/ moulds/ ramekins which would perhaps not be available in the average kitchen. Ms. Ojakangas does offer solutions to this problem by suggesting baking in mini-muffin tins.
Personally, I think investing in some of these items would not be a bad idea if one was considering continuing with making/ baking mini-desserts. I have a tendency to sometimes collect unusual bakeware when I can find it (which is not very often), but I do have small ceramic ramekins as well as what I now discover are sandbakkelser moulds.
I had made the Sandbakkelser from Petite Sweets earlier and this time I tried the Fresh Lime Pies and some Orange Crepes. They turned out well and we liked them too.
Here is the recipe for Fresh Lime Pies. You can use 2 ounce (about ¼ cup) ceramic cups or ramekins if you have them. Otherwise, you can line mini-muffin tins with foil liners. Ms. Ojakangas also advises the use of fresh Key limes if available.
I would advise increasing the sugar for the lime filling, if your lime juice is on the tarter side.
5 double graham crackers (10 squares), finely crushed
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
2 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce/ 400gm) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp grated lime zest (green portion only)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Put the graham crackers, sugar and butter into a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir and toast till lightly browned.
Line 24 miniature muffin cups with fluted foil liners or use 24 (2-ounce) unlined ceramic cups. Divide the crumb mixture between the cups and tamp down firmly using a spoon or something similar with a flat end.
Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
Make the lime filling. In a glass 2-cup measure, mix the egg yolks, condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest until well blended.
Pour mixture into the crumb –lined cups, filling them to the very top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until set. Cool thoroughly and then chill.
Just before serving, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla. Spoon whipped cream over each little pie. Garnish with lime zest.
This recipe makes 24 (2-ounce) servings.