Mini desserts help Thanksgiving diners trim calories

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Halloween to New Year's Day is known as the "food season" as there is an abundance of holidays that revolve around large quantities of high calorie treats. The current estimation of a typical Thanksgiving meal is set at 3,000 calories.

So beyond dieting, one of the smartest ideas is to simply enjoy a smaller quantity of your favorite foods like dessert.

The average piece of pumpkin pie is about 350 calories, pecan about 500 and add whip cream you've got 100 calories more.

But little personal desserts provide about three to four bites, so they'll satisfy without blowing your calorie bank.

"And you can make desserts in small ramekins, any kind of oven proof dish. A few bites, two or three bites," said Cindie Flannigan, a food stylist.

Flannigan says they've got great eye appeal and they deliver much less food than you would normally get.

Her mini mouthwatering ideas? A chocolate mousse parfait with cherry preserves using store bought or homemade brownies or pecan bread pudding with hot caramel sauce, which Flannigan says is a lovely way to use up stale bread. You can also try mini pumpkin pies and adorable apple pies in mason jars.

"This is especially nice if you're serving more than one dessert so you're not over feeding people," said Flannigan.


Personal apple pies in mason jars


Personal Apple Pies
To make these little apple pies, use your favorite apple pie recipe and five 8-ounce or six 6-ounce mason jars.
  1. Using the mason jar lid, cut rounds from roll out dough.

  2. Place dough into the bottom of the jars. Generously spoon apple filling into jars so that it's a bit higher than the top of the jar.

  3. Cut rounds from remaining dough that are 1/2-inch bigger all around that the opening of the jar.

  4. Cut a plastic straw into 2-inch pieces and use straw to punch holes in dough.

  5. Place dough over filling, pressing edges of dough into rim of jar.

  6. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until filling is bubbly and crust is nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

  7. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be made a day ahead.

Mini Caramel Pecan Bread Pudding


Caramel Pecan Bread Pudding

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf Italian bread, thickly sliced and torn into small pieces
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup dried currants (optional)
1/2 cup prepared caramel sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease six 3-ounce ramekins.

  2. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, milk and vanilla extract until combined.

  3. Add bread, currants and pecans, stirring to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes for bread to soak up liquid.

  4. Spoon mixture into prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and sides have risen, about 16 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be made a day ahead if refrigerated.

Mini pumpkin pies


Mini Pumpkin Pies
To make mini pumpkin pies simply use your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and divide dough and filling among six 3-ounce ramekins.
  1. Bake at 350 degrees F until filling is puffed in the center and firm to the touch.

  2. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be made a day ahead.

Chocolate mousse parfait with cherry preserves


Chocolate Mousse Parfaits
All the pieces of this recipe can be made the day before. Assemble up to 6 hours before serving.

4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons baker's sugar
2 1/2 cups cup heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups brownies or chocolate cookies, crumbled
6 brownies or 12 large chocolate cookies, crumbled
1 (12 ounce) jar cherry or raspberry preserves
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

  1. Place egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Place 1 cup of the cream in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbles just begin to show around edges.

  3. Slowly pour cream into yolk mixture, whisking constantly until completely combined, being careful not to curdle the mixture.

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