Holiday Treats and Desserts for One Person

Sure the holidays can be stressful. And this year brings that to a whole new level. But we can still enjoy ourselves, even if we can’t do it with others. And that means dessert!

And, as I mentioned last week, everyone enjoys dessert, regardless of which holiday(s) you celebrate.

I have gathered a few seasonal favorites here, including chocolate cake, brownies (top them with chocolate sauce and ice cream for a decadent treat), bananas with brandy, pear crepes, and super-easy chocolate mousse. They’re all easy and uncomplicated. Yes, even the crepes. I cheat. Shhh.

Now, I admit the mousse is technically four servings. However, in 2020, I think what’s normally four servings counts as just one! Also, if you freeze it, it comes out tasting like chocolate fudge ice cream.

If you’re pairing these with sparkling wine or champagne, the champagne goes really well with fruit desserts. The chocolate is a bit trickier, but you want a wine that’s sweeter than the chocolate. Try a fruity sparkling rosé.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2021! Goodbye 2020 and good riddance!

greek yogurt chocolate cakeTriple Chocolate Cake

Want chocolate? Want lots of it? This cake has three kinds: cocoa, chocolate chips, and a super easy ganache on top. Because it’s 2020, and we need chocolate!

 

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

This dessert is ready in minutes, with little fuss. Make it as is, or add chocolate sauce, or ice cream. Or, swap the brandy for some rum.

 

 

 

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Making proper crepes is tricky and requires a lot of practice. My way is easy. I cheat. Great by itself or topped with  ice cream.

 

easy chocolate mousseEasy Chocolate Mousse

One of the first recipes I ever made. It’s only got five basic ingredients. And it is really super-easy. None of the complicated usual mousse steps. You never have to separate a single egg, or put anything in a double boiler. Easy, delicious, and chocolate. What more could you want?

Home Alone for the Holidays 2020 – Festive Cooking for One Person

Instead of being together in person, we’re on Zoom. Rather than lots of people gathered in mom’s or grandma’s or a friend’s kitchen, we’re eating and celebrating solo.

So, I decided to do something a bit different and create a holiday/celebration menu. We’ll start with zucchini carrot fritters. Then, rather than the usual links to recipes with similar ingredients, I’ve included options for the rest of a festive meal, from entrees to desserts.

Since we’re celebrating different holidays, with different rules and traditions, I’ve picked foods that are easy, elegant and delicious.

You can eat the fritters as an appetizer, or a main course.  If they are the meal, start with some simple hors d’oeuvres, such as wine, cheese, olives, and fruit. For a festive, easy treat, add a bit of milk to some goat cheese, and roll it in chopped almonds.

Chanukah

zucchini carrot fritters

Zucchini Carrot Fritters

If you celebrate Chanukah, it’s traditional to have fried foods, usually latkes (potato pancakes) or donuts to celebrate the miracle of one day’s worth of oil that lasted for eight.  Instead of latkes, I thought I would go for something a bit different: zucchini carrot fritters. Rather than traditional sour cream or applesauce eaten with latkes, these are served with a yogurt and mint dip.  Still fried though! Some things don’t change!*

*Yeah, I know. Chanukah is over as I type this, but my family never did it on time!

Christmas/New Year’s

For Christmas or New Year’s, since a whole turkey or ham is too much for one, I’ve included a pork tenderloin, and some sides. If you do get a turkey breast or some smaller portion and have leftovers, make my turkey pot pie.

Dessert for Everyone!

Regardless of which you celebrate, everyone gets dessert: choice of pears with ice cream or chocolate pudding.  Because who doesn’t like dessert?

And, to paraphrase what my grandma said about everyday eating, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a party and delicious food.

Festive Holiday Recipes

Main Dishes (Christmas/New Year’s)

pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour creamPork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

Tenderloin is quick, easy, and cooks in a few minutes. The sauce is rich and creamy, with the bite of Dijon mustard and the sweet/sour capers. The perfect sauce for pork.

 

turkey pot pie for one personTurkey Pot Pie for One Person

Just right for one person, without creating even more extra food. If you don’t have extra turkey, get it pre-cooked from your local deli.  Made with a rich, all-butter crust. Because why not?

Side Dishes (Christmas/New Year’s)

skin on garlic mashed potatoesSkin On Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Creamy and sweet/savory all at once. Cooking the garlic with the potatoes mellows and softens the sharp flavor. This is a family favorite (especially with my sister-in-law, the mashed potato fiend).

 

honey mustard glazed carrotsHoney Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

The sweet carrots and savory mustard are a delightful combination. This pairs wonderfully with the pork, or a simple piece of roast chicken.

Desserts (any occasion!)

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Easy, delicious, and really quite simple to prepare.  Elegant enough for company, but a lot less fuss than you’d think.

 

single serving double dark chocolate pudding recipeSingle Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Just one indulgent serving of rich, delicious pudding, with an extra double chocolate punch.  Cook it more, you get pudding, a bit less and it’s super-thick European dark hot chocolate.

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

It’s the holiday season, so that means it’s also dessert season.  Whether you’re having company, or just treating yourself, this recipe for poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice cream is going to be a hit. The long name makes it sound kind of complicated, but it’s really easy.

First, you poach the pears by letting them simmer gently in a bit of sugar and water.  Let them cool off a bit, then put them on a plate with ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup over them.  It feels like you’re doing something fancy for company, but you don’t have to share!

Pears were on sale this week (three pounds for only three dollars!), and I just couldn’t resist making this recipe.  I used Bosc pears  but Bartlett or Anjou will work just fine.

The pears were exceptionally sweet, and that plus the sugar, and the ice cream made the original recipe (from The New York Times cookbook), a bit cloying.  Sweet is good, but not that sweet, so I reduced the sugar.  The full amount of sugar is 1/4 cup.  Use that if your pears aren’t that good.  If you have sweet, juicy pears, cut the sugar by a teaspoon or two.




Substitutions and Variations for Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

  • Sprinkle some sliced or slivered almonds on top of the pears
  • Poach the pears with a pinch of ginger and a slice of lemon
  • Make your own hot chocolate sauce: combine 1/2 C cocoa, 1 C sugar, 1 C light corn syrup, 1/2 C light cream, 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan.  Cook on medium heat.  Stir the mixture constantly until it boils.  When it’s boiling merrily, you can cut back to stirring only occasionally. Let it boil for three minutes.  Take the pan off the burner and add  1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve the sauce warm over the pears.  You can store the rest in the refrigerator and serve it with more pears, or over ice cream. Or, be really decadent and serve it over small batch brownies.

More Dessert Recipes

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Dessert doesn’t have to be hard to be good. This one is ready in five minutes. The secret? That crepe isn’t a real crepe. Shhh. Don’t tell.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Got five minutes? You can make a fancy dessert. Rum, brandy, and cinnamon, plus gently heated bananas. Great by itself, or topped with ice cream.

 

Peach Crumble Recipe for One

Take advantage of juicy summer peaches and toss together this peach crumble topped with butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

 

cinnamon sugar apple breadSmall Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

The perfect treat, downsized for one person. Packed with apples and finished off with a crackling cinnamon sugar topping.

 




Easy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

This easy pear crepe dessert recipe is ready in just a few minutes, without a lot of fuss and bother.  It’s nearly winter, the temperatures are dropping, and it’s the perfect time for a holiday treat.

The pears were still fresh at the greenmarket, so I pounced.

You’re probably wondering how the words “crepe” and easy go together. After all, crepes are a bit of a pain to make from scratch. It takes a bit of work to get going (even if you’re accustomed to it) and it’s not really practical to make just one.

The secret is that I didn’t use a standard crepe recipe, or even a crepe recipe at all.  I used a very thin, whole wheat tortilla instead.  That meant I could cook it quickly, and didn’t have to worry about extra crepes lying around.

The rest of the tortillas will be used for another day’s dessert, for wraps, and turkey enchiladas (next week’s recipe). And, since the tortilla is sturdier than a real crepe, it holds together better, and I can fill it with more pear! I haven’t tried it yet, but it might also work well with bananas.




Single Serving Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • try pear brandy instead of standard brandy
  • serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • add a pinch of ginger to the cinnamon/pear/sugar mixture
  • drizzle the crepe with chocolate syrup

Tools and Ingredients for this Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe

oxo kitchen tongsoxo kitchen tongsKitchen tongs

These tongs are great for flipping tortillas, turning steaks, or transferring chicken or fish cutlets from pan to plates. They lock in place when you put them away, so they won’t take up lots of space in your drawer or gadget holder.

 

cuisinart skillet
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 8-Inch Skillet

This is a classic, simple frying pan that’s just the right size for tortillas, a couple of fried eggs, fajitas, or vegetables. It’s not non-stick, but I found that my non-stick pans started peeling (!) and and didn’t hold up so I got rid of them. This is better. Turn the flame on, heat the pan, add the oil or butter, and then add your food. You can even put it in the oven (just don’t broil it).

Check out these Single Serving and Small Batch Pear Recipes

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Easy, and remarkably elegant. Gently cook the pears, then top with chocolate sauce and ice cream. Simple and delicious.

 

ginger pear bread

Small Batch Ginger Pear Bread

Pears with a bit of a kick. Baking the ginger transforms it from spicy to warm and mellow. A perfect complement to the sweet pears.

 

rustic pear tartRustic Pear Tart

Think pie, with a lot less work.  Make a quick dough, cut up the fruit, let it rest, and bake. Perfect for when pears are at their peak.