English Desserts for the Royal Wedding
Well, ladies, the jig is up. It's official; none of us will be the future queen of England. As the world waits with bated breath to see what Kate Middleton will wear, whether anyone will make a faux pas, and how much better Prince Harry will look than his brother, here are some sweet English treats to drown your commoner sorrows in.
1. English Trifle The earliest known trifle recipe was published in England in 1596 as part of a book called The Good Huswife's Jewell by Thomas Dawson. Though recipes today vary greatly, a traditional trifle is said to include thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice and whipped cream layered elegantly in a glass dish. If you don't consider fruit a dessert, screw British tradition and make this heavenly chocolate trifle instead.
2. Rhubarb Crumble Crumbles originated in Britain during WWII when strict rationing made it impossible to make traditional pie crusts. While crumbles can traditionally include both sweet and savory ingredients, this preparation balances out the tartness of the rhubarb with the very sweet, buttery topping. The best part is that rhubarb is a vegetable, so that makes it healthy, right? If you still find the rhubarb a bit overwhelming, a popular version of this dessert includes strawberries as well.
3. Spotted Dick There are so many bad jokes here that I am going to refrain from them all. This unfortunately named dessert is a steamed suet pudding with dried fruit. If you don't know what suet is, Google it and be prepared to be grossed out. Spotted dick has a spongy consistency with a rich, spiced flavor and is usually served with custard. It even comes in a can.
4. Banoffee Pie Made from bananas, cream, toffee made from condensed milk and a pastry base, Banoffee Pie is a more recent addition to classic English desserts. Ian Dowding and Nigel Mackenzie of The Hungry Monk claim to have invented the dessert in 1972 (see the original recipe here). When supermarkets began to sell the sweet treat as an American pie, the pair offered a £10,000 prize in 1994 to anyone who could disprove their claim. Though not as steeped in history as the others, this is my personal favorite on the list.
5. Treacle Tart This treat was relatively unknown in the U.S. until a certain Mr. Harry Potter introduced it as his favorite treat in the chronicles of his wizarding ways. This tart is made from shortcrust pastry, breadcrumbs, lemon butter and English golden syrup or treacle. If you just can't deal with the metric system, like me, try this delicious apple treacle tart recipe that's in friendly, non-metric terms.
If these British treats don't make you forget the prince you never had, just make Prince William's groom's cake and delude yourself into believing you are the one with the giant royal rock on your finger.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.