Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Culinary Arts: Baking for Two

Culinary Arts
These articles that had the largest increase in popularity over the last week
Baking for Two
Aug 3rd 2011, 10:03

Baking for two can be difficult. Most recipes are geared toward six to eight servings, but there are options. Excellent options in fact, some of which are dead simple, while others require more planning and effort.

Fruit Desserts

I tend to avoid pies because either I need to make my own pastry to create a small pie or make a full-size pie. Instead I lean towards crisps, betties, buckles, and slumps. For example, my Apple Crisp only takes 15 minutes to make and 40 minutes to bake. These approaches offer the same satisfaction as a pie but are easier to resize and to make.

For fancier occasions, half a sheet of puff pastry, lined with sliced pears, and baked can be quite elegant and reasonably sized for two people. Just refreeze the unused portion of pastry. Another elegant trick is to macerate fruit as above and serve it in puff pastry shells.


Cakes are a more difficult proposition. Some cakes, such as pound and bundt cakes, freeze well (so do sweet quick breads and muffins). In this case it's reasonable to make a full size-version and freeze a half or two-thirds. Just wrap whatever you're freezing in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and place in a zippered freezer bag. Be sure to label it with the date.

Traditional layer cakes don't freeze as well. If you're making the cake from scratch you can down-size the recipe and make a single layer cake. This is more difficult if you're using a mix, but it's still doable. About Guide Linda Larsen offers this way of reducing a cake made from a box.

Most cheesecake recipes are easy to reduce and cheesecake also freezes well. You can find a selection of small cheesecake pans at Kitchen Conservatory as well as other small cake pans, baking dishes, and even a 5 1/2 inch Emile Henry pie pan.


Most cookie dough freezes well for four to six weeks (the exception being soft, meringue-style cookies). Rolls of dough can be double-wrapped in plastic, chilled in the refrigerator, and then frozen in a zippered bag. Divide the rolls into batches suitable for six to eight cookies before packaging. These will need to be defrosted in the refrigerator before being cut into cookies and baked, so plan ahead.

Drop cookies such as oatmeal, chocolate chip, and molasses can be frozen on a baking sheet, then transferred to a sealed container. Simply remove the number of cookies you want to cook, let them warm up at room temperature for 30 minutes, and bake.


Baked bread freezes beautifully and if I'm going to the trouble of baking bread I really don't see any good reason for downsizing a recipe. But you do have few options that might make baking bread easier or more convenient.

For example, you can make use a full recipe but make smaller loaves, whether free-form or in small loaf pans and freeze what you don't need immediately. Another option is to make rolls, most recipes will adapt well to this form. It's also possible with smaller breads such as rolls and baguettes to par-bake them until they just begin to brown, then cool and freeze them. You can then defrost them in the refrigerator and finish baking them when needed.

Selected Recipes

Blood Orange Pots de Crème
Frozen Maple Mousse
Baked Bananas with Brown Sugar
Raspberry Trifle for 2

Other Resources

Sallie's Place
Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos

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