Single-serving pie in a jar
2 cups prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled)
2 tablespoons brown or white sugar (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit)
2 tablespoons flour (more if your fruit is super juicy, such as cherries; less if it's pretty dry)
Seasonings/flavorings (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, almond extract, citrus zest)
1 tablespoon butter (divided among the pies)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons oats
1 package ready made or homemade pie crust
To make filling: In a large bowl, combine fruit, sugar, flour and desired flavorings. Divide it among 4 half-pint jars and dot a pat of butter, about 1/4 tablespoon, on top of each. You'll need about 1/2 cup of filling for each jar.
To make topping: Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Add oats, and stir to combine. Divide crumb topping among the jars.
Roll out pie crust, and using jar ring as a cutter, cut out four circles, and place on top of the pie filling. Brush tops with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Make sure your "lid" has a vent so steam can escape. You can use a knife to make a couple of slits or a tiny cookie cutter to make it decorative.
When pies are topped, place metal lids back on and seal them tight. Freeze if desired.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you're baking them frozen, bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Makes 4 jars.
Peppermint fudge cupcake jars
8 wide-mouth half-pint Mason jars (the short, squatty kind)
3 ounces chopped chocolate, bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet (or about 1/2 cup chips)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
21/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the cupcakes: Place chocolate and butter in a large heat-proof bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Set mixture aside and let cool 10 to 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon (don't use an electric mixer), stir sugar into chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in vanilla. Gently fold in flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.
Place jars on a cookie sheet. Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need to grease the jars). The jars should be about half full or a little less. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot holder) transfer jars to a cooling rack. Let jars cool until almost room temperature before topping with ganache.
To make ganache: Place chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream in microwave in a separate bowl until bubbles form around the outside. Pour hot cream over chocolate and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand 5 minutes. Add peppermint extract, then whisk until smooth. Let cool, uncovered, until slightly thickened, almost like a thin pudding.
To assemble: Pour 11/2 to 2 tablespoons ganache over the top of each cupcake jar. If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake. Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool, allowing the ganache to set. If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars, and leave at room temperature.
To make frosting: Whisk together flour and milk. Heat in a small saucepan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can strain it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temperature or chill it in the refrigerator. It needs to be cooled completely, or it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.
In an electric stand mixer, beat butter and sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. While beating, add thickened milk mixture, and vanilla and peppermint extracts. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes, maybe even 8 or 9 minutes. Keep beating until thick and creamy. Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Frosting might separate in the refrigerator, but you can store it overnight if left at room temperature and in a well sealed container.
To frost: Pipe frosting on each jar, being careful to leave room for the lid. If desired, sprinkle on some crushed candy canes and then screw on jar lids.
Storage: When fully made, store with lids at room temperature for a day or two. If made to the ganache step (before frosting) you can screw on the lids and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, then frost right before serving.
Makes 8 jars.
Pumpkin pie with spiced nut crust in a jar
Spiced nut crust:
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin pie filling:
1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin purée
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Place 12 half-pint canning jars on a double layer of cookie sheets. No need to spray jars. Set aside.
To make spiced nut crust: Place butter in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave on high for 40 seconds. Stir until melted. Mix flour, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon with the melted butter. Toss to coat. Form crust by pressing 2 tablespoons crust crumbles against bottom of canning jar. Do not push it up sides of jar. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Set aside and prepare filling.
To make filling: In a large bowl, combine pumpkin purèe, condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into jars. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
From Just Desserts by Liz Bushong
Chocolate pots de creme in a jar
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
5 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate shavings for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 brownie pans with parchment paper. This prevents the jars from sliding around and having direct contact with the bottom of the pan.
For the pots de creme: Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.
Whisk yolks, sugar and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky, and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes. Do not let custard overcook or simmer.
Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among eight 4-ounce canning jars. Gently tap jars against counter to remove air bubbles.
Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or as long as 72 hours. Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.
For the whipped cream: Using hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
Top each pot de crème with about 2 tablespoons whipped cream; garnish with cocoa or chocolate shavings, if using.
Makes 8 servings.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated