Our top five classic British desserts

By: Helen West,

Our top five classic British desserts

Does the smell of a warm sponge cake conjure up happy memories of baking as a child? Maybe the distinct scent of burnt sugar takes you back to the first time you tried to make toffee. Or perhaps you still can't smell cabbage without thinking about school dinners!

We all have certain foods that can transport us back to our childhood.

From baked Alaska to blancmange, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane with a selection of our favourite dessert recipes.

So give these tried-and-tested classics a go, then head over to our Facebook page and let us know how you get on!

Monmouth pudding (Pwdin mynwy)

This wonderfully traditional Welsh pudding is a great way to use up store cupboard bits. Topped with meringue, it’s simple, tasty, and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. You can make it with your choice of fresh fruit or layer it with jam. Diana Henry's recipe uses berries but apples and rhubarb both work well. As for the difference between a Monmouth pudding, a Manchester Pudding, and the Queen of Puddings? We’ll leave you to fight that one out!

Image of a Monmouth pudding topped with meringue

Fabulously old-fashioned and full of flavour, Monmouth pudding is just what you need to warm you up on a chilly autumn evening. Image: YUKI SUGIURA, The Telegraph.

Arctic Roll

Arctic Roll has made a comeback in recent years. During the 1980s, a staggering 25 miles of Arctic Roll were sold per month! Birds Eye stopped making their frozen version back in 1997 but brought back this simple but popular favourite in 2008. You can’t beat homemade though. James Martin's recipe uses homemade strawberry jam, but we won’t judge if you use shop-bought instead! If you want to make something a bit different, combine two nostalgic favourites with this Black Forest Arctic roll recipe.

Image of a slice of Arctic roll in a bowl

Arctic Roll is a universal favourite. It's a guaranteed winner at children's birthday parties but goes down equally well after a proper Sunday roast. Image: BBC Food.

Baked Alaska

Ah, baked Alaska. No dinner party was complete without it. Baking ice cream shouldn’t work, but it somehow it does. Done right, a baked Alaska is a real showstopper. If you’re feeling brave you can use a blowtorch to scorch the meringue, but baking it in the oven for two to three minutes is a good alternative, and you’re less likely to singe your eyebrows in the process!

Image of a classic baked Alaska

Baked Alaska is a real showstopper. The cool ice cream contrasts with the warm meringue, making it the perfect pudding all year round. Image: ANDREW CROWLEY, The Telegraph.

Black Forest gateau

Back in the 1970s, Black Forest gateau was the high of sophistication and it’s easy to see why. Warm chocolate, rich cherries, and a healthy slug of alcohol – what’s not to like? Bring back this mouth-wateringly rich dessert next time you have guests over for dinner. It’s a retro favourite that everyone loves.

Image of a traditional Black Forest gateau

Black Forest gateau is light on ingredients but rich on flavour. Give it a go next time you need a dessert that's guaranteed to impress. Image: BBC Food.

Blancmange

Finally – and this one will divide opinions – blancmange. You probably remember thinking it was slimy and unpleasant as a child, but blancmange done properly can be delicious. It’s creamy, flavoursome, and simply to make. If you’re baking with children (or just feeling creative!) use fun-shaped moulds for a tea-time treat.

Image of an advert for blancmange

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