Top 10 Retro Desserts
A trip down memory lane is always desirable especially when it involves digging a spoon into a mouthwatering classic.
Although we’re always the first to lust over the hottest sweet tooth fix (Cronut creater Dominique Ansel’s Milk and Cookie Shot is our latest obsession), it’s the old favourites we continue to whip up as the years tick on.
Getting stuck into any of our top 10 retro desserts will set you off in a time machine of nostalgia.
For some it seems Baked Alaska defies the laws of physics, warm browned meringue encasing vanilla sponge with an interior of luscious ice cream. Banged into a piping hot oven, the meringue acts as an insulator keeping the ice cream cold and in tact. Splash some dark rum and flambé to achieve a Bombe Alaska transporting yourself to Betty Draper’s dining table.
A Mary Berry favourite, the Bakewell Tart has origins dating back to the 17th century, certainly solidifying it as a vintage dessert. Crumbly short crust pastry is slathered with a layer of jam (rhubarb is you’re feeling seasonal), before a sponge mixture encorporated with ground almonds is poured into the tin. The perfect crunch is added with the addition of toasted almonds, which adorn the top.
Nana may still whip up her sherry trifle at every big C – that is christening, communion and confirmation, and the huge towering bowl overflowing with cream always pulls at our heartstrings. While hers may have been created using the most retro of ingredients including canned fruit, lady fingers and Bird’s Eye custard, we’re partial to putting in a bit more effort even if arduous.
Tucking into this dessert definitely has retro inclinations, each taste transporting you to an American diner worth of ‘Grease’. The Banana Split is really just a delicious mesh of ice cream scooped upon a halved banana and adorned with chocolate syrup, crushed nuts, and a shiny maraschino cherry.
Named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, we can’t decide what we like most about this party classic. Is it the crispy meringue, the cloud like marshmallow interior, the spoonfuls of luscious whipped cream or the mounds of chopped strawberries oozing juice that crown the sweet?
Once cut, the Battenberg cake reveals a delightful checkered pattern of colourful sponge held together by slathers of jam and incased within a thin layer of marzipan. A favourite of Rachel Allen, a slice is as welcome to an afternoon tea party as an old friend not seen in decades.
Black Forest Gateau
Most are familiar with the almost overwhelming tower of chocolate cake, cherries and cream that make up the traditional black forest gateau. Like any good retro dessert, a generous helping booze ramps up the cake and if on the look out for a real throwback, adorn with maraschino cherries.
Bread and Butter Pudding
Many slick restaurants twist the beloved bread and butter pudding, but memories of a large dish of layered buttered bread drowned in yellow custard and littered with sultanas (or chocolate chips if your were lucky) sticks with us despite the years ticking by.
Great British Bake Off silver fox Paul Hollywood is an advocate of this rum-soaked retro classic and his advice is always best taken. The brioche batter transforms into a beautiful individual yeast cake before being drowned in rum, and spooned with whipped or pastry cream.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Any baker, amateur or wiz, recognises the fear that accompanies flipping over variation of upside down cake. Pineapple, the most retro of all canned fruit was always the preferred topping to this 1970’s favourite.