What Are the Different Types of Individual Desserts?

A.E. Freeman

Types of individual desserts range from desserts designed to be consumed by a single person in one sitting, such as cupcakes or ice cream cups, to miniature versions of desserts meant for more than one person. Miniature tarts, pies, and creme brulees are all examples of individual desserts. Desserts for a single person also include those portioned into a single-serving dish, such as sundaes, certain types of puddings, and parfaits.

A cupcake decorated with marzipan roses.
A cupcake decorated with marzipan roses.

Cupcakes are a popular variety of individual desserts in some areas. The small cakes come in a range of flavors, from vanilla or chocolate to more unusual options such as peanut butter or lemon. Usually, each cupcake has frosting on top. Some have further decorations, such as sprinkles or a garnish.

Frozen yogurt.
Frozen yogurt.

Frozen desserts can also be designed to be consumed by an individual. Ice cream is occasionally sold in small cups with a small spoon. Other individual desserts made from ice cream include ice cream sandwiches or bars. Additional frozen desserts for one include frozen yogurt cups, ice pops, and frozen candy bars.

Creme brûlée is often portioned out into single ramekins.
Creme brûlée is often portioned out into single ramekins.

Miniaturized desserts can be a popular choice for buffet tables or even for formal meals. Some tarts can be made in small, 4-inch (10-cm) dishes designed to feed one. Examples of individual tarts include chocolate tarts and fruit tarts.

Vanilla pudding is a simple, yet well-loved individual dessert.
Vanilla pudding is a simple, yet well-loved individual dessert.

Pies can also be made in individual form, using small pie dishes or by shaping the pie by hand. Hand pies are individual desserts that are meant to be held in the fingers when eaten. Usually, hand pies feature pastry dough folded over a fruit filling.

Ice cream can be scooped into individual desserts.
Ice cream can be scooped into individual desserts.

Creme brulee is often portioned into single-serve ramekins or shallow stoneware tart dishes. The dessert is made of cream, vanilla, and egg yolks. What sets a creme brulee apart from other custard desserts is the caramelized layer of sugar on top. Serving the dish in a single-serve ramekin means a person eating it gets more of the crispy coating.

Brownies are perfect for individual desserts.
Brownies are perfect for individual desserts.

In some cases, individual desserts are portioned out from larger desserts. For example, puddings are usually served in cups but are scooped out from a larger amount of pudding. The pudding may be allowed to set in the individual serving dish or set in a larger bowl and be portioned out later.

Pastries are individual desserts.
Pastries are individual desserts.

Parfaits and sundaes are examples of individual desserts that are assembled from larger components. A person may scoop ice cream from a larger container and then personalize his sundae with a selection of toppings. In the same manner, a parfait is made for an individual by layering ingredients such as fruit and yogurt in a dish.

Chocolate pots de crème are baked in individual ramekins, then chilled.
Chocolate pots de crème are baked in individual ramekins, then chilled.
Chocolate mousse is a decadent kind of individual dessert.
Chocolate mousse is a decadent kind of individual dessert.
A chocolate bar is a common type of individual dessert.
A chocolate bar is a common type of individual dessert.

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Discussion Comments

SteamLouis

We were at an Italian restaurant opening last night and I loved their individual desserts. They had gelato but the gelato was sold in cups of real oranges. It was a great idea and the scent of the oranges definitely added to the experience.

bluedolphin

@literally45-- I don't see it that way. An individual dessert is a dessert prepared and served for an individual guest. So instead of cutting a slice of a large pie for each guest, if you make small individual pies for each person, that's an individual dessert. It just means that the guest doesn't need to share their dessert with anyone.

Some people really go out of their way and prepare several different kinds of individual desserts to make the guests feel even more special. I always lie it when individual desserts come in different flavors and presentations at an event. It's always exciting.

literally45

When it comes to finger desserts like brownies, cookies or bars, I don't really think of them as individual desserts. Even though the dessert is all portioned out for each individual, people are usually welcome to take seconds or thirds. That's fine but when I think of individual desserts, I usually think of pudding cups or trifle cups. Basically, I think of desserts made in a cup like cheesecake or pies. Usually the cups are large enough to easily satisfy a person's dessert craving for an event.

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