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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.