Sweet Somethings

It’s celebration season! Make these seven dreamy, delicious treats your go-to recipes for serving, sharing, and giving all winter long.


By Laraine Perri
Photos by Con Poulos Food styling by Simon Andres Prop styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Strawberry–Angel Food Trifle

Active | 20 MIN Chill | 2 HR Serves | 10

  • 1 c plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ c honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1 (10-oz) store-bought chocolate angel food cake, cut in large chunks
  • 6 c fresh strawberries, thickly sliced

  • Combine yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  • In a shallow dish, gently mash frozen berries and their juices.
  • Arrange half of cake in bottom of a large glass bowl; top with half of mashed frozen strawberry mixture and half of fresh strawberries, placing prettiest fresh berries against side of bowl. Spoon half of yogurt mixture over berries, beginning against side of bowl and working inward. Repeat layers. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours.

PER SERVING (1 cup): 193 cal, 1 g total fat, 1 g sat fat, 164 mg sod, 37 g total carb, 25 g sugar, 2 g fib, 10 g prot. SmartPoints value: 6

Spiced Pear and Pomegranate Tart

Prep | 30 MIN Bake | 25 MIN Serves | 8

  • 4 tsp sugar, divided
  • 2 pinches salt, divided
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp plus
  • ⅛ tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lb ripe anjou pears (about 4)
  • 8 (13 x 18-in) sheets frozen phyllo, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp apricot preserves with ½ tsp hot water to soften preserves
  • ¼ c pomegranate seeds

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine 2 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Combine remaining 2 tsp sugar, cornstarch, ¼ tsp fivespice powder, and remaining pinch of salt in another small bowl; set aside.
  • Combine lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl. Peel and core pears; thinly slice. Add pears to lemon juice mixture; toss gently. Sprinkle with spiced sugar mixture; toss.
  • Unroll phyllo onto a clean work surface; keep covered with a sheet of wax paper topped with a damp kitchen towel. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on prepared pan; lightly coat with nonstick spray and sprinkle with ¼ tsp reserved sugar mixture. Top with a second phyllo sheet; repeat to make 8 layers.
  • Spoon pears onto phyllo, not including all the juices (to prevent sogginess), leaving a 1-inch border. Turn phyllo edges up, sealing corners with a few drops of water. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F; continue baking until pears are tender and phyllo is golden and crisp, 15 minutes more.
  • Brush softened preserves over pears; sprinkle tart with pomegranate seeds. Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting into 8 slices and serving.

PER SERVING (1 slice): 149 cal, 2 g total fat, 0 g sat fat, 192 mg sod, 33 g total carb, 15 g sugar, 4 g fib, 2 g prot. SmartPoints value: 3

Gingerbread Meringue Tarts

Prep | 30 MIN Bake | 4 HR Rest | 2 HR Serves | 8

Tip: For the best meringues, beat egg whites in a superclean bowl. Any soapy or greasy residue will keep whites from peaking. A quick wipe with vinegar will do the trick.

Gingerbread Meringue

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ c sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger
  • ⅛ tsp allspice

Topping

  • 1½ c light whipped topping
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • 2 medium blood oranges, peeled, segmented
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, thinly sliced

  • Preheat oven to 225°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 8 (3¾-inch) circles on parchment paper in pencil, leaving some space between each. Flip paper over; place on baking sheet with circles facing down.
  • To make meringue, hand stir egg whites, sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, about 2 minutes; remove from heat (egg whites will be foamy).
  • Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg white mixture on high until it is cool and stiff peaks form, 8–10 minutes; stir in vanilla and meringue spices. Evenly divide meringue among 8 circles, using back of a spoon to create ¾-inch-high mounds with slight depressions in center.
  • Bake meringues for 4 hours; turn off oven and let meringues sit in oven to cool and dry, about 2 hours more. (These can be made up to 3 days in advance—be sure to cool them completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
  • To assemble tarts, stir together whipped topping, vanilla, and topping spices. (May be made up to 1 day ahead.)
  • When ready to serve, spoon 3 Tbsp topping onto each meringue; top each with a few orange segments. Garnish with fresh mint.

PER SERVING (1 tart): 113 cal, 2 g total fat, 2 g sat fat, 72 mg sod, 22 g total carb, 19 g sugar, 1 g fib, 2 g prot. SmartPoints value: 5

Apricot and Pistachio Rugelach

Prep | 25 MIN Bake | 10 MIN Cool | 25 MIN Serves | 24

  • ½ c dried apricots
  • 1 strip lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 (8-oz) package reduced-fat refrigerated crescent rolls
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c shelled unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp demerara sugar (granulated brown sugar)

  • Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add apricots and zest; cover and remove from heat. Set aside 15 minutes to soften. Discard zest; drain apricots, reserving a few teaspoons of liquid.
  • Add apricots and brandy to a mini chopper or food processor; process until smooth, adding 1 or 2 tsp reserved water, if necessary, to loosen. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Unroll dough onto a large sheet of wax paper. Press perforations and seams together. Cover with a second sheet of wax paper. Roll to 8 x 16-inch rectangle.
  • Spread apricot mixture on dough, sprinkle with cinnamon, and top with pistachios. Cut dough in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 12 strips widthwise to make 24 pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a little bundle; arrange on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg white; sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

PER SERVING (1 rugelach): 50 cal, 2 g total fat, 0 g sat fat, 88 mg sod, 7 g total carb, 2 g sugar, 1 g fib, 1 g prot. SmartPoints value: 2

Chocolate-Berry Pavlova

Prep | 30 MIN Bake | 1 HR 30 MIN Cool | 2 HR 30 MIN Serves | 12

Meringue

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 c granulated sugar, preferably superfine
  • ¼ c unsweetened cocoa, sifted

Filling

  • ½ c mascarpone
  • ½ (8-oz) package light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1½ Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp low-fat (1%) milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1–2 c raspberries
  • 1 (1-oz) piece bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 freeze-dried raspberries
  • 1 tsp confectioners' sugar

  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • To make meringue, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl, until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Add sugar 2 Tbsp at a time, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  • Sift cocoa over beaten whites in three additions, gently folding with rubber spatula just until cocoa is incorporated; be careful not to deflate meringue. Spoon meringue onto prepared baking sheet; spread to form 9-inch nest with 1-inch-high edge.
  • Bake meringue 1½ hours; turn oven off and let meringue cool in oven for 2 hours. Remove from oven; slide meringue with parchment onto wire rack and let cool completely.
  • To make filling, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat together mascarpone, cream cheese, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  • To serve, transfer meringue to serving plate. Spoon marcarpone mixture into center of meringue; top with fresh raspberries. Using vegetable peeler, shave chocolate over berries. Crush freeze-dried berries with hands and sprinkle over top; dust with confectioners' sugar. Using serrated knife, cut pavlova into 12 wedges and serve immediately.

PER SERVING (1 wedge): 160 cal, 7 g total fat, 5 g sat fat, 80 mg sod, 23 g total carb, 20 g sugar, 1 g fib, 3 g prot. SmartPoints value: 8

Pizzelle Cookie Cannoli

Prep | 20 MIN Bake | 4 MIN Chill | 1 HR Serves | 8

  • 1 c plus 2 Tbsp part-skim ricotta
  • ½ c light whipped topping
  • 3 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar plus more for dusting
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp finely grated orange zest
  • ¾ oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 vanilla pizzelle cookies (3–4 inches)

  • Line a mesh strainer with a paper coffee filter or cheesecloth; set over a small bowl. Add ricotta; cover with plastic wrap and top with a heavy can. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to drain.
  • Combine drained ricotta, whipped topping, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and orange zest in another small bowl; fold in chocolate and set aside.
  • Microwave cookies, one at a time, on a paper plate, 20–30 seconds. Immediately remove warm cookie and wrap around a utensil handle (such as a peeler) to form a shell (or carefully shape shells with your hands). Let cool; repeat with remaining cookies.
  • Spoon or pipe 2 Tbsp filling into each cookie shell; dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

PER SERVING (1 cannoli): 109 cal, 5 g total fat, 3 g sat fat, 46 mg sod, 10 g total carb, 6 g sugar, 0 g fib, 5 g prot. SmartPoints value: 4

Mini Pumpkin-Pecan Tartlets

Prep | 20 MIN Bake | 17 MIN Serves | 12

  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree
  • ½ c packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ c low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pecans

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat together pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, egg, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Place 1 wonton wrapper in bottom of each prepared muffin cup (corners will be sticking up); lightly coat wontons with nonstick spray.
  • Place a second wonton in each muffin cup at an angle so each one has 8 wrapper corners sticking up.
  • Evenly divide filling among muffin cups, smooth filling with back of a spoon, and sprinkle with pecans. Bake until wontons are crispy and browned, 13–17 minutes. (Check after 3–4 minutes to see if edges of tartlets start to burn. If so, cover pan loosely with foil and continue baking until filling is set.)

PER SERVING (1 tartlet): 111 cal, 2 g total fat, 0 g sat fat, 201 mg sod, 22 g total carb, 10 g sugar, 1 g fib, 3 g prot. SmartPoints value: 4