Illustration There are many great British recipes that were invented by accident and became so well-liked that the dishes developed into a part of British tradition. Still, some recipes were passed on from one generation to the next and...

Illustration
Illustration

There are many great British recipes that were invented by accident and became so well-liked that the dishes developed into a part of British tradition. Still, some recipes were passed on from one generation to the next and evolved into classic British recipes.

Their dessert recipes aren’t any different and just as delicious. In the damp British winters, it’s time for warmer, hearty desserts of pies, steamed or baked puddings and cakes. While in the summer, people enjoy light and creamy desserts of puddings, custards and fools. Are you curious to discover the top 10 British recipes for desserts? Well then let’s examine them!

Hasty Pudding – As the name implies, this is a quick dessert to make—less than 40 minutes. Hasty Pudding has been around since the sixteenth century and the initial version was like a sweet porridge. The simple recipe for Hasty Pudding includes cooking eggs, flour and butter in a pot of boiling milk. Nutmeg, cinnamon, light brown sugar and an optional lemon zest can be added and it’s cooked until it reaches the firmness of thick oatmeal. Hasty Pudding has many versions and is great eaten alone cold, warm or hot. If one prefers, a poached fruit such as a pear, apple or rhubarb goes well with the pudding too.

Spotted dick pudding
Spotted dick pudding

Spotted Dick – What kind of a name is that for a very filling, smooth-tasting, steamed pudding? Well, it’s not really known how this dessert got its name. However, there’s a story that says that “spotted” refers to the currants or raisins in the pudding and the word “dick” could be an Old English version of the word pudding which, at that time, was “puddick” or “puddog”. This dessert is named the Spotted Dog in Scotland. Spotted Dick is a very easy pudding made of suet which is made into dough; currants and raisins are added and the whole thing is shaped and put into a pudding sleeve or cloth and then steamed for an hour. A Spotted Dick has also been made with dates and dried apricots and is served with a lot of custard poured over it. It’s usually enjoyed when there’s a chill in the air and during the damp British winters.

Jam Roly-Poly
Jam Roly-Poly

Jam Roly-Poly – This rolled pastry is definitely a favorite amongst the British children and, initially, was boiled in a shirt sleeve in muslin which provided it the nickname of “dead man’s arm”; but today, the Jam Roly-Poly is steamed. Whether it’s steamed or boiled, it still uses the same ingredients: suet made into dough that’s rolled flat, strawberry or raspberry jam is spread onto the dough and then rolled up. Some other less common fillings that can be used are apples, golden syrup or prunes. After steaming the pastry for one hour, it’s placed in a 400? F oven for 10 minutes to give it a bit of crispness. It’s usually eaten hot with custard poured on top.

Apple Hat – This delectable British dessert is basically an upside-down apple pie that looks like a hat. There are other hat desserts, but the Apple Hat is the most popular out of all the fruit puddings. Suet and flour are combined to create the crust which is pressed snuggly down into a pudding bowl. For the “pudding” filling the British like to use Bramley apples but any tart cooking apple, such as a Granny Smith, will do. Cloves, raisins, lemon juice, light brown sugar, butter, ginger and cinnamon are the other ingredients that make up the filling; they’re mixed together and poured into the doughy bowl; then a dough top is made and covers the filling. It’s all steamed for two hours, lightly cooled, then overturned onto a serving plate. Apple Hat is sliced warm and placed into separate bowls with a dollop of custard on top.

Gooseberry Fool – This is a very old British dessert dating back to the fifteenth century! The “Fool” is believed to be a version of a French word “fouler” meaning to crush or to press—as in crushing grapes to create wine. Gooseberry Fool is created by squashing boiling gooseberries then let them cool once they’re puréed. Add sugar and the puréed gooseberries into heavy whipped cream and fold until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour or until it’s firm. Some traditional versions call for mixing in vanilla custard and other bitter-tasting fruits can be used in the place of gooseberries like raspberries, redcurrants, cranberries and rhubarb.

Crumpets – These cakes are thick, soft breads that are made with yeast and flour and cooked on a griddle. They look something like an English muffin. But that’s where their similarities end because crumpets have small holes on the top, a round, smooth bottom, they’re not split like English muffins and crumpets have a somewhat spongy quality to them. Originally, they were made with ring molds but they can be made without ring molds too. Crumpets are fantastic for anytime of the day and dished out right off the griddle; they may be topped with jam, cheese, honey, thick cream, bacon and, the most popular topping--butter.

Crumpets
Crumpets

Lardy Cake – This cake dates back to the late nineteenth century and during a time when everything from a slaughtered pig was used. Lard, spices, butter, currants, sugar, raisins and flour are used to make this rich, sweet dessert and it’s baked in an oven at 425? F until the Lardy

Lardy Cake
Lardy Cake

Cake is golden brown. For some British regions, there are different versions of the Lardy Cake—the Wiltshire Lardy Cake is made with just currants; the Oxfordshire Lardy Cake doesn’t have any dried fruit at all; and Gloucestershire Lardy Cake is baked with raisins as well as currants. Lardy Cake is cut into wedges and served up either cold or warm.

Trifle – For over four centuries Trifle has been the ultimate yummy and indulgent dessert. A Trifle is primarily made with a sponge cake soaked in sweet sherry and then layers of fruit or Jell-O (or both), a deep layer of smooth custard and a very thick layer of whipped cream. Sometimes the layers are repeated and then garnished with either fresh fruit or sliced almonds. It’s the perfect summer dessert! Try this recipe!

Syllabub – This is another old British dessert which has been around since the sixteenth century. Syllabub contains cream or milk that’s slightly curdled with wine and then mixed with sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. The tale is that when people use to milk their cows, they’d let the milk stream into a basin of cider or wine. They ended up with a foamy, thick mixture. But since most people don’t have their own cows, a whisk or hand mixer works just as well to create that same frothy, luscious mixture. Syllabub can be served alone or over any fruit such as peaches, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries or blueberries.

Mincemeat Pie – Over 500 years ago, mincemeat was formed to preserve meat, usually mutton, instead of smoking or salting it. Like the plum pudding, Mincemeat Pie has become a staple at Christmas dinners in England. This pie was once the main dish instead of a dessert as it is today. It was primarily filled with a lot of meat with some fruits and spices. But in the seventeenth century, as fruits and spices were more abundant, the pie was transformed into a spicier version. Today’s Mincemeat Pie may be filled with raisins, chopped apples, currants, cranberries, cloves, suet, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, dark brown sugar and, depending on the baker’s preference, a bit of rum, brandy or cognac.

Mincemeat Pie
Mincemeat Pie

Do any of these marvelous British desserts sound good to you and worth trying? Perhaps the Apple Hat and Trifle peak your interest—and your taste buds. You could try your hand at making all of them! For more tantalizing British recipes, please contact us.