5 Individual Desserts in 30 Minutes or Less

By: Emily Lee


Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Leslie Siegel

Photo by: Andrew McCaul

Andrew McCaul

Fall is here and time is precious, especially if you’re adjusting to a hectic back-to-school schedule. But that doesn’t mean your sweet tooth has stopped demanding gratification in the form of luxurious homemade desserts.

You may not have time for the from-scratch cake, tart or pie recipes that your family swooned over during the unhurried summer months, but using common pantry ingredients (and a few store-bought items here and there) will easily cut down time spent in the kitchen so you and your family can still enjoy a sweet reward at the end of a busy day. Here are five dreamy desserts that come together in individual cups, glasses or ramekins for quick assembly and convenient cleanup.

Food Network Kitchen has mastered the art of shortcut creme brulee with the help of one secret ingredient: store-bought pudding. Simply spoon some prepared chocolate pudding into your ramekins, then sprinkle each with a heaping spoonful of turbinado sugar. Caramelize the sugar with your kitchen torch, and you’ll have a rich and creamy brulee in just 10 minutes.



Photo by: Renee Comet ©Renee Comet

Renee Comet, Renee Comet

Giada De Laurentiis likes to conclude a comforting weeknight meal with a lighter dessert, like this sweet and airy combination of macerated strawberries and cream. Fold coarsely broken meringue cookies into the fresh whipped cream for a bit of crunch, then top each parfait with half a meringue for a playful touch.

Store-bought pound cake, balsamic-marinated strawberries and fresh whipped cream come together in three simple layers for a quick weeknight dessert solution. If you’re able to get your hands on fresh, plump strawberries, by all means, use them up. If pickings are slim in your area at this time of year, thawed frozen strawberries work nicely too. Once prepared, the trifle cups can be refrigerated for up to two days for an impromptu indulgence at a moment’s notice.

YOGURT AND FRUIT PARFAITS, Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals/Breakfast for Dinner, FoodNetwork, Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt, Frozen Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries,Granola

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When assembling these five-minute parfaits, Rachael likes to layer defrosted strawberries and fresh in-season blackberries on top of silky nonfat vanilla yogurt. You can customize these parfaits to accommodate peak-season produce with more fresh ingredients like apples, nectarines or grapes. Enjoy them as a low-calorie after-dinner treat, or as a quick and refreshing breakfast.

Food NetworkDamaris Phillips Chocolate Mason JarsFrom the Pantry Desserts,Food NetworkDamaris Phillips Chocolate Mason JarsFrom the Pantry Desserts

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Armando Rafael Moutela, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Most pot de creme recipes call for as many as six egg yolks, which not only wastes protein-packed whites but also adds a significant amount of cholesterol. Damaris Phillips uses on-hand ingredients to keep this dessert convenient and budget friendly. She recommends saving your whole eggs for breakfast and using just a little bit of mayonnaise to create smooth, creamy texture. You can also intensify the chocolate flavor of your pudding with instant coffee.

For the ultimate weeknight dessert, try these five-minute Mug Cakes from Food Network Magazine. You can customize the basic cake recipe to suit your family’s tastes. Choose from flavors like Triple Chocolate and Gluten-Free Blueberry.

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