Iconic American Desserts ca.1950-1990

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I was doing some brainstorming about menus and such, and I realized I should ask you folks about desserts. I've never been a big dessert person, so my imagination is kind of limited, as is my knowledge.

In the post-war period, on to about 1980-1990 or so, there were a whole bunch of American food fads that often get looked down on now. Hot dips were big in the 70s, as was oil fondue, and so on.

In desserts, the big one that stands out to me is angel food cake. Another is baked Alaska.

Any other ideas for iconic, often-scorned 60s-70s desserts?

Note: the exact era isn't terribly important. Furthermore, my point is NOT that there is anything wrong with a good angel food cake, but that it became a fad and then got sneered about by people who thought themselves sophisticated. The ultimate example, though it's not a dessert, is Jell-O salad.


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Actually, Phatch, that was exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. I'm sort of hunting for classic, iconic desserts that usually are dreadful but actually don't deserve to be.

I thought of one: tiramisu

Remember when that was THE thing?
 
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It does in Boston! But everywhere else it is often just the butt of the joke about a cake that pretends to be a pie.

Now I'm hungry for one... The essence of my childhood; the nectar of the gods; the cake of kakes and the pie of pi!!!!!
 
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Um,

Floating Island or Eggs in Snow

Pineapple upside down cake

Ambrosia

Grasshopper pie  w/box jello

Trifle

Anything sweet in gelatine
 
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Really? Boston cream pie? Huh. I live in Boston but I'm not sure I've ever eaten one. I'll look into it. Thanks!
 
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Really! Get thee to 60 School Street in Boston and eat the original! Get thee there ASAP or you might get deported!
 
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lived in both cities and I think Boston Cream Pie is more popular in NYC
Actually, Phatch, that was exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. I'm sort of hunting for classic, iconic desserts that usually are dreadful but actually don't deserve to be.

I thought of one: tiramisu

Remember when that was THE thing?
Is Tiramisu considered dreadful?

I do know the 40 yr. old fad of Creme Brulee makes me gag a bit when I see it on a menu.
 
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Jay-ee-el-el-oh 1-2-3 and Jello pudding parfaits.
Chocolate pudding-on-the-bottom cake.
Also all kinds of Jello molds with stuff in em.
 
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G

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bread pudding has been around forever 

america loves to make fruit pies, before refrigeration almost all fruit ended up being canned/jarred and pies/tarts were an easy outlet for using the product 

crepes 
 

pete

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The very first thing that came to mind was Baked Alaska.  Some others that come to mind:

-jello

-any number of sweet "salads" that could stand in for either a "salad" or "dessert" (someone mentioned Ambrosia, there was another one made with rice and Kool Whip and canned fruit)

-crepes

-souffles

-no bake cheesecakes

-mousse
 
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I seem to recall Rainbow Sherbet was all the rage
back in the early 70s....specially 'mongst the ladies.
 
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@ChicagoTerry,

I can't argue with that. You're right, Creme Brulee is a classic. It has been around since before we were all born. I'm old enough to have been taught and served the classic dessert.

  I guess there is two schools of thought.

One from the front of the house and one from the back.

From the FOH, it's a classic dessert. From the BOH, I guess I use the word fad for lack of a better term.  

For the last couple of decades the Creme Brulee has been bastardized, modified, deconstructed, turned on it's side, frozen etc. Maybe a better term would be transmogrified.

When I dine out and order a classic, that's what I expect, or something close. Order a creme brulee, it could arrive in a puff, sugar, florentine, plastic, merengue, etc. shell. The custard could be a quick, additive thickened pudding, and you never know what's arriving at your table. So I guess I use fad for the period of time the classic becomes convoluted. If I order Baked Alaska, I wouldn't expect it to arrive in a soup bowl, cake cubes on the side with a meringue topping.

  We met friends at our local upscale hotel restaurant for dinner the other night. I ordered the Creme brulee for dessert. It was a perfect custard, with a hot iron bruleed top, served in a glass dish.

A perfect classical desert. The pastry Chef did garnish the serving plate with scooped brulee star apples and creeping snow berries. To me, that was a classic dessert.

Personally I feel the term classic dessert is one is one that is produced by a tailored formula year after year. course, I am an old fart Chef :>)
 
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