5 Essential British Summer Desserts

Food — By Erin Gallagher Maury on May 30, 2011 at 11:13 am

Summers don’t last long in London and those precious three months are crammed with outdoor concerts, alfresco dining, festivals, the social sporting events of Ascot, Wimbledon, and Henley Royal Regatta, and lazy afternoons in pub gardens — each of which must be accompanied by local seasonal treats. While you’re visiting this summer, be sure to indulge in at least one of the quintessential British summer delicacies listed below.

Wimbledon's famous strawberries and cream, served with or without sugar

  • Strawberries and cream — Strawberries are the soul of a British summer and the principal ingredient in English summer desserts. Eating the juicy heart shaped fruit slathered in rich cream is simply sublime. If you require proof then look no further than The Championships at Wimbledon where over 28,000 kg of strawberries and  7,000 liters of cream are consumed in a fortnight!
  • Eton Mess — This is another take on the classic strawberries and cream, although this time the two are mixed with pieces of crunchy meringue into, well, a big mess. First served to students in the 1930s at the prestigious Eton College after a dog sat on a picnic basket, Eton Mess evolved to include meringue and is still enjoyed at the school’s annual cricket match against Winchester College.
  • Trifle — The 16th-century dessert has not changed much, with the exception of  the “whether or not to include gelatin” debate. Layers of custard, cake laced with alcohol, summer fruit, gelatin (or not), and whipped cream are gorgeously displayed in footed glass bowls. According to Mrs. Beeton (the Betty Crocker of England), trifle does not include gelatin.
  • Fool and syllabub — The two are often synonymous: crushed fruit folded into sweetened whipped cream, yet technically are different. Syllabub should include alcohol, sherry, or white wine to be a bit persnickety. Rhubarb or gooseberry are highly recommended.
  • Summer pudding – Bread soaked in the fruit pieces and sugary juice of blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and red currants is then molded into a domed shaped pudding basin and chilled to set overnight. The bright red cake is turned out in a dramatic presentation with fruit spilling out and served with, you guessed it, cream. It’s a summer party for your taste buds.

A gorgeous English summer pudding

flickr image: kthread

Tags: British strawberries, english seasonal food, english summer desserts, Pimm's, strawberries, Summer in London, summer pudding, Wimbledon