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Top 6 Classic English Desserts

Updated on December 23, 2015

Every British experiences a constant yearning for some traditional culinary pleasure, especially during the holiday season when celebrations are at its peak. From birthday to afternoon tea, for the British there is always s a dose of sugar to pleasure the sweet tooth. No wonder, there is a huge variety of English desserts for all the sugar lovers to fulfill their craving for sweet, buttery and creamy local delights.

Listed below are some of the local favourite desserts which would leave you longing for more!

Eton Mess

Eton mess is basically a mixture of thick, whipped cream, meringue and chunks of strawberries, presented as a “mess” of ingredients. This sickly sweet dessert dates back to the 19th century, and still acts as a traditional feature of the annual cricket game between Eton College and Winchester College. It used to be served back in the 1930s in the school “tuck shop” and was made using ice cream at times. Later, Michael Smith, the author of Fine English Cookery added meringue as an innovation to the relishing creamy mess.

Banoffee Pie

A combination of the words “banana” and “toffee” is referred to as Banoffee. It is a creamy dessert made from thick cream, bananas, condensed milk, butter, biscuit crumbs and sometimes chocolate shavings. The history of the banoffee pie can be traced from a restaurant in the small village of Jevington, known as The Hungry Monk. In 1972, Chef Ian Dowding in collaboration with owner Nigel McKenzie came up with a dessert based on the American “Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie.” After experimenting with different seasonal fruits, they got the perfect sweet spot with bananas. That is when McKenzie said “Banoffee!” which is still known as the local favourite.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky toffee pudding is a one of its kind dessert, something for a special occasion. Once served with a scoop of ice cream, it tastes serene! It is a soft sponge cake, with caramel and vanilla fragrance, richly studded with marshy dates and a smooth, creamy toffee sauce oozing out. This dessert of the 90s is still recognized as a contemporary modern classic. One must warn all the diet conscious people, since it is extremely tempting and irresistible. What looks rich and buttery is equally relishing and satisfying!

Jam Roly-Poly

Once known as a staple of school lunches throughout the UK, this sweet and rich pudding evokes nostalgia among the English. It is a suet delicacy with an even layer of jam, rolled and steamed before serving it with hot custard or sticky toffee pudding. Wrapped up in the sleeves of an old shirt in the old days, it got a nickname of nicknamed "dead man's arm" or "dead man's leg". It is probably a Victorian invention, but definitely worth a try for its sugary, soft bite will leave you wanting more!

Knickerbocker Glory

This popular seaside treat is still a mysterious enigma of the English dessert menu, since there are many unanswered questions about this sweet such as who invented it, what makes it glorious etc. All what is known is that this extremely wonderful dessert came into existence somewhere in the 1930s. There is not one definite recipe for this amazing ice cream sundae, however it is a typical British 'ice cream parlour' classic which first got popular in the 1930s.

It is basically a fresh fruit cocktail layered at the base, served in a tall ice cream glass. Three scoops of soft and creamy ice cream (usually vanilla and strawberry), are popped on top with whipped cream or squirted cream, a dash of Peach Melba sauce and a glace or fresh cherry on top. The dessert can be varied according to taste and preferences by adding a layer of jelly or different toppings such as flaked almonds, coco powder sprinkle etc.

Arctic Roll

In 1958, Dr. Ernest Velden , a Czechoslovakian lawyer invented a recipe of a log of vanilla ice cream enclosed in a thin layer of sponge cake with a spread of raspberry sauce sandwiched between both. Sales picked up and by 1983, it had become such a celebrated part of the English culture that the Queen rewarded Dr. Ernest. The Arctic Roll despite the slump in sales later on, picked up again in 2008 as it was given a warm welcome by the British with open arms and mouths!

Besides the popular traditional vanilla, today it is also served in chocolate flavour. The variations include clotted cream and strawberry arctic roll, vegan black forest arctic roll, custard and raspberry arctic roll, so on and so forth.


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    • peachpurple profile image


      2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      english dessert is something which i adore very much. Too bad, not available here

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting list.


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