These little tarts came about yesterday when I had to make a dessert to take to an evening event. I needed it to be fast, to require only ingredients I had on hand, and I was aiming for something lighter. My Google searches led me to a recipe for a lighter No-Bake Cheesecake and figured I could tweak it to fit my sensibilities. A simple recipe, it calls for Cool Whip and reduced-fat cream cheese. I reject Cool Whip as a food, and reduced-fat cream cheese just doesn't make sense, so didn't have either in my fridge, but I knew I could work something out.
I was so happy with how it all turned out, because not only did I use what I already had, I used bits and pieces of things that were leftover and might have gone to waste otherwise. I felt so frugal and thrifty. This is what I found to work with:
-Festive mini-cupcake wrappers bought on clearance that had been languishing in a drawer for over a year
-Graham cracker crumb topping leftover in the fridge from when my daughters made s'more cupcakes
-Real whipping cream leftover from my Thanksgiving pie extravaganza.
-Homemade fromage blanc* also leftover from Thanksgiving
The mini cupcake wrappers allowed me to use ingredients higher in fat, but still keep the fat and calories per portion low. I knew there'd be a variety of desserts at the event, and when that's the case, I always prefer to take small pre-portioned items, so people can try my dessert without committing to a huge piece. The graham cracker crumb topping was much higher in butter than I would have preferred, but it saved a lot of time, and I used a tip I found here, and just rolled it very thin.
I think in ratios these days more often than recipes, and I only had 6.5 ounces of whipping cream on hand, so I used that to determine the size of the recipe. That's the handy thing about using ratios, it's so easy to scale the recipe to what you have, no lamenting that you can't make that recipe because you're an ounce and a half short of something. Here's the ratio I used, by weight:
4 parts whipping cream
4 parts fromage blanc (or if you're fresh out of that, you could use the reduced fat cream cheese)
1 part sugar
1 squirt lemon juice
Beat fromage blanc, sugar, and lemon juice together for about two minutes. In a separate bowl, beat the whipped cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipping cream into cheese mixture. Spoon into mini cupcake papers and refrigerate. That's it, fast and easy.
If you're counting WW points, each mini tart is only one point, and I was satisfied after two, so the real cream and butter aren't such a diet disaster in this context.
The amount I made (with 6.5 oz each of whipping cream and fromage blanc) filled the 24 mini tart papers I had prepared, with about four tarts-worth left over. I found a great use for the leftovers, but that's another post. Full disclosure- after a few hours in the fridge, they were a little soggy, probably because my fromage blanc wasn't drained quite long enough when I made it. But I stuck them in the freezer for an hour, and they were delicious that way, so disaster averted. Before putting them in the freezer, I garnished them with some mini chocolate chips, you could also use chopped nuts or chocolate shavings, or drizzle with any number of things- chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, etc. You could even garnish, say 1/4 of them with nuts, 1/4 with chocolate chips, etc. and make it look like you made a lot of different desserts! Ooh, I like that idea.
*Fromage blanc, is a fresh (non-aged) white soft cheese you can substitute for cream cheese, but with a fraction of the calories and cholesterol. Read more about it on the New England Cheesemaking website here, and order the little packets of powdered culture to make your own here. (And no, they're not paying me to advertise, I just love the New England Cheesemaking company, and I'm so grateful for their work in bringing cheesemaking back to the masses.) You should definitely try making your own, it's really not much more difficult than instant pudding, really, your kids could make it.