Friday, November 28, 2014

Desserts I Know and Love

By Chalk and Cheese via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday, during the gluttonous feast of Thanksgiving*, we wondered why pie was the dessert of choice, traditionally. We mused on Facebook, but the best answer we got was, "because PIE!" which is no kind of answer at all. I suspect we'll need a food historian to help us decide if it was truly traditional, though we are hardly dedicated to maintaining the other foodways of the colonists. People were a lot more dedicated to pie than I am, and one woman even (jokingly) threatened to unfriend me over my lack of pie worship.

I decided to write a declaration of dessert. Pudding, to my commonwealth friends. Pudding in America is one specific thing, sort of blancmange but with a more attractive name. Somewhere between custard and mousse. (Just in case you were getting lost, Brits call all dessert "pudding.") (And just in case this isn't all confusing enough, we all use the term pudding in some specific sweet AND savory dishes like "bread pudding," "rice pudding," "Yorkshire pudding" and "corn pudding.") 

Anyway back to the manifesto

Dessert hierarchy:
  1. Ice cream and flaming boozy fruit over ice cream.
  2. Indian pudding (no raisins), mousse, and (American) pudding
  3. Cookies
  4. Baked fruit desserts (clafouti, crisp, etc)
  5. Cake
  6. Pie with graham cracker crust
  7. Pie with baked crust
  8. Anything with raisins in
  9. A big bowl of shredded cardboard
  10. Rice pudding

But as I climbed into bed I realized I'd left off sticky toffee pudding! This is a British date cake smothered in a toffee sauce. (And I don't even like dates.) It's orgasmic. The only problem is this is the only steamed cake I'll eat. (Seriously, I have gagged on Christmas pudding in my time.) So I can't put it in a category. Also, it's not "just cake" and doesn't deserve to go in at number 5. So, the new and improved dessert Manifesto:

  1. Ice cream and flaming boozy fruit over ice cream.
  2. Sticky Toffee Pudding**
  3. Indian pudding (no raisins), mousse, and other (American) pudding
  4. Cookies
  5. Baked fruit desserts (clafouti, crisp, etc)
  6. Cake
  7. Pie with graham cracker crust
  8. Pie with baked crust
  9. Anything with raisins in, actually, I usually won't eat any desserts with raisins
  10. Rice pudding

I'm sure I've missed some dessert category, and I'm sure it's your favorite. What do you think? Should we throw out tradition and substitute the Thanksgiving pies? 

*Here's a question for my British readers. How come you imported the worst part of Thanksgiving (ie Black Friday) without importing the feast itself? Badly done, Britain, badly done.

** I'm going to assume that every Brit has a recipe or their favorite store-bought. Hell, *I* have my favorite store bought! But no store to buy it from. So here's an Americanized recipe, with cups and tablespoons and no weighing.


Margaret said...

Hmm. I do love pie. But I do love cake. (I'm American - the whole pudding thing is quite confusing to me, despite being an Anglophile.) But Ice cream tops all. lol! Oh, and my current obsession is Ben and Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie Fro Yo. I think that's what it's called.

Daffycat said...

Oh how I love Sticky Toffee Pudding! On to Google some recipes for it when I leave here!

Blech, I'll pick all my raisins out and give them to you...I only eat uncooked raisins.

riona said...

My list is somewhat different:
1]My own recipe for Amaretto Apricot Bread Pudding as well as other traditional bread puddings
2] Peach pie, Key Lime pie, Coconut custard pie
3]Spice cakes and apple cakes
4]Real New England gingerbread
5]Fruit crisps and fruit pan dowdy
6]Italian cookies, especially pignoli cookies, 7 layer cookies, anisette or sesame biscotti.
8]Chocolate fondue with fruit and pound cake or angel food cake squares
9]Baked apples and poached pears
10. Cinnamon ice cream topped with warm apple compote

These are desserts I like in descending order. I like other desserts but these are my top ten. And I add nuts and raisins to many of my baked goods.

Also, my guilty seret: I am one of the few people on the planet who actually loves fruitcake at Christmas, though I will settle for stollen, in a pinch.

Susan said...

You had me at that picture! I have a major sweet tooth and a body to prove it. However, I don't really care for ice cream and can easily turn it down. I'm also not a fan of bananas in desserts, but I will eat raisins in them. My favorites include bread pudding, coconut cream anything and pecan pie.

Beth W said...

I'm not a pie fan, myself- mostly because I dislike the taste of sugar and most pies taste ONLY of sugar. Dark chocolate works just fine for me, alone. :)

This might help to answer your historical food question:

Pamela said...

My favorite dessert is carrot cake - the very dense kind with raisins and nuts and cream cheese frosting. I also like apple and cherry pies with crust. I haven't had these things here in Japan, which is probably good for my waistline and health in general. I have a favorite Japanese dessert - green tea mochi on the outside and sweet red bean paste on the inside.

Vonna, The Twisted Stitcher said...

A regional fav here is: Persimmon Pudding, which is just like your sticky toffee pudding in texture, I imagine. In fact, I have a secret recipe passed down to me through my paternal grandmother for my Persimmon Pudding and we have that for Thanksgiving :) Not pie! HEY HO!

C in DC said...

Fruit and nut pies are my favorite, especially with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

My daughters would say that you left off the whole frozen ice category of desserts: popsicles, Italian ice, etc. Also, does just plain chocolate count as a dessert?

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Love this post!
Ice cream is pretty much near the top of my list too. Then
Apple crumble with hot custard
Apple pie with custard
Lemon meringue pie
Bannoffe pie (banana and toffee)
Christmas pudding with custard
Christmas cake
Any other cake

Rice pudding can be yummy with jam added

Bread and butter is yuck because we always had it when we had no money for proper afters (this is what real non posh English people call dessert!

Have you ever had Swiss Roll with custard? This was one of the school dinner favourites!