Forgotten desserts

Baked Alaska is perhaps the sweetest and most decadent and indulgent things I have ever consumed in my life. How it ever fell out of favor I’ll never know.

And for those who would argue that a piece of fruit qualifies as a ‘dessert’, I say to you…we evolved to come down from the trees where fruit was our prime foodsource. Unless a dish contains at least a pound of refined white sugar, it doesn’t really qualify as a dessert in my book.


Available in every grocery store where I live.

Just this week I bought lime jello, canned pears, and cream cheese to make ‘Under the Sea’ jello mold. It is more than the sum of its parts, topped with Cool Whip (or whipped cream), it is refreshing and delicious, not too sweet, with a shot of lemon or lime juice…When I was a SAHM, during a blizzard, I used to make a huge casserole dish of ‘Indian Pudding’ - a cornmeal and milk based dessert that baked in a slow oven all day. (Howard Johnson’s used to sell it, a very early childhood memory.)…I seem to be the only one who loves both of these, so I make them and have at it, a little every day for a week.

My grandmother used to make a very basic vanilla cornstarch pudding that she would serve a raspberries and raspberry sauce over. I was determined to make make my own but found you needed a double boiler to make it and my kitchen just isn’t that complex.

Bread puddings aren’t that popular but I do occasionally see them at various places and am always eager to try theirs.

Haven’t seen rice pudding around much either.

Cherries jubilee. Flambe desserts were briefly fashionable in my town’s restaurants when I was a kid. My brother and I would ask my folks to make it. Ever frugal, my mom would give us bananas Foster instead. :unamused:

Every dessert on the list is in nationally published cookbooks. (I used to collect them and still have some.) None were regional. I think most were just…forgotten. Glad to see your mom is still making icebox cookies. :slight_smile:

A few notes:

Nesselrode pie–had it on a plane as a kid in the late Sixties, back when planes had meals with china. It was popular in the Forties through Sixties. I think anything with candied fruit went out of favor around then.

Indian pudding–Dates back to colonial days, when it was cornmeal mush with molasses. (I’ve read early colonial pumpkin “pies” were pumpkins with the goop scooped out and milk, eggs and molasses baked inside the shell. Wheat flour was scarce.) I’ve seen references to Indian pudding in books published in the Thirties and before. Anything made with cornmeal was referred to as “Indian” at one time. (SMH)

Bavarian cream–even though it’s called Bavarian cream, the cream in the doughnuts is more like pastry cream. I’ve seen bavarois on the Great British Baking Show, but only as part of other desserts. I remember seeing it at the hospital cafeteria where I was a Candy Striper, but I’m pretty sure it was made with Jello and whipping cream.

Baked Alaska–I don’t know when its heyday was, but as a kid in the sixties, I read about it in novels and heard about it on TV shows. I made it for a dinner party. The ice cream started melting when I browned the meringue, but it was delicious. I wish I’d had a creme brulee torch.

I see what you did there. :slight_smile:

That’s my mother’s usual contribution to holiday parties that my brother and his wife usually host. And I made it a couple of years ago when invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. We served it as a dessert, and it’s good for that, as it’s a relatively light dish.

Has anyone seen Spanish Bar cake lately? It’s my brother-in-law’s fave. My husband saw it in the bakery of a supermarket in Toronto around 10 years ago and grabbed it for him, but we haven’t seen it since: A&P Spanish Bar Cake - Willow Bird Baking

Lemon meringue pie is a favorite of mine, and our supermarket bakery has it regularly. Edwards also makes a good freezer version.

Rice pudding I see all the time too, bread pudding not so much. I used to make it all the time until my cholesterol levels got too high. The last time I had it at a restaurant was at 'Ohana, the Hawaiian-themed restaurant at Disney World’s Polynesian resort. They make it really rich and decadent, with Bananas Foster, heavy cream and rum:

Your “Under the Sea” jello sounds pretty good. Recipe, please? :slight_smile:

Wondering how many on this thread would enjoy the “Questionable Vintage Recipes” group on Facebook or the Mid-Century Menus blog?

My parents have regaled me with stories from the 70s of semi-fermented fruit desserts. I’m told they were popular for a while among the conservative tea-totaler types.

The Kauai Beach Resort on Kauai served bread pudding for breakfast back in 2012. My dad opened a chafing dish lid and immediately was in heaven. Kneaders restaurant chain sells it - I saw it the other day. My father is not impressed with it.

Around here I don’t see Boston Cream Pie much.

Ambrosia is ambidextrous. I read that the original version, first served in the 1860s, consisted of layers of sweetened orange segments and coconut. From there it apparently took off, and people started adding whipped cream, maraschino cherries, pineapple, banana slices, miniature marshmallows, and so on. The kind my father made had canned mandarin oranges, banana slices, coconut, minaiture marshmallows, and a mayonnaise dressing. (Dad had many fine qualities, so please forgive him his ambrosia.) In her memoir, A Window Over the Sink, Peg Bracken mentions a variety made with ice cream. (She also questions whether ambrosia was really ambrosia in the sense the Greeks meant it.)

As for bread pudding, I served it often when my kids were growing up. It was a great way to use up leftover bread, and the eggs and milk made it almost wholesome.

Trifle. I’ve never had it, but it looks completely decadent. The only time I’ve even seen it mentioned that I can remember is the famous “meat trifle” episode of Friends.

Crepes Suzette, speaking of flambé. I had it once, when I was in my very early 20’s (so nearly 50 years ago) at a restaurant where I was trying to pretend to be an adult. I don’t remember being particularly impressed, it was really all about the show when they assembled it and flambeed it at the table.

Remember Mont Blancs?

I hardly ever see German chocolate cake anymore. (Today was German Chocolate Cake day. )

I had and/or made most of these in the thread. Seems like they’ve been supplanted by the many iterations of red velvet cake, cheesecakes, and other desserts made from cake mixes. Some weren’t all that memorable to begin with (why doctor up chestnut with candied fruit? Prune whip?) but others are delicious (I’m partial to bavarian cream and floating islands, but they’re quite time consuming).

Baked Alaska is a huge pain. You have to fill a cake-lined mold with softened ice cream, refreeze, then unmold, cover with meringue, and broil/torch fast before the ice cream melts. Is it really better than regular cake + ice cream, for all that work? It’s more of a fancy high-end restaurant treat, when people would rather order what’s in fashion now. Same with floating islands - delicious, but not enough “there” there for today’s expectations.

We should add all these to the SDMB potluck thread.

German chocolate cake is my all-time favorite. I usually indulge on my birthday. There are German chocolate cake mixes and coconut-pecan frosting in tubs, though the latter is not that good, IMHO. I see GCC in supermarket bakeries all the time. Usually it’s got a chocolate frosting with some coconut-pecan frosting on top, which I view as cheating.

I really did think Baked Alaska was worth the effort because meringue. :slight_smile:

I concur! German chocolate cake with homemade topping is sublime!

How about black forest cake laced with kirschwasser?

Boston cream pie, anyone? Hopefully that hasn’t gone out of style yet.

Will look and let u know. I love vintage foods.

Our family has a “under the sea” jello salad recipe too, but it doesn’t have pears in it.

Under-the-Sea Salad

2 3-oz pkg lime jello

1 4-oz pkg cream cheese

2/3 cup chopped pecans

*Dissolve jello in 2 cups of boiling water. Divide the jello into two portions: Pour 2/3 into a jello mold, and put it in the refrigerator to set. Beat the remaining jello together with the cream cheese. Add the chopped pecans, and set the mixture in the refrigerator to chill. When the plain jello gets hard, spoon the mixture on top carefully; do not mix. Place the jello in the refrigerator to set. To serve, unmold and invert onto a serving plate.*

Sounds great! Must try this.