Jolly Olde England! Home of trifles and treacles and plenty of other sugary delights that made my mouth water when described in the twee children’s books I used to read!
When I visited you recently, I naturally assumed that “Jolly” in your name referred to the rotund and sugar-lulled effects of fantastic desserts.
Boy, was I wrong.
Upon Cake’s advice, I hit the Marks and Spencer food hall for a sampling of some everyday British desserts; in essence, the slightly posher equivalent of my beloved Safeway sheet cake.
Maybe it was an off day, but this is what the dessert case looked like:
Meh. I am greatly dubious of a culture that tries to pass off “sandwiches” as “dessert”.
I consulted with my polite British friend (who I’ll call “Faux Grant”), and we settled on the following desserts:
Faux Grant suggested the cheesecake, which he claimed was a proper British dessert. As a former New Yorker, I had to taste test that ridiculous claim. We grabbed a slice of lemon cheesecake. Upon opening it, I noticed giant clumps of lemon filling inserted INTO the cheesecake body itself. Sacrilege. Fruit belongs on the top of a cheesecake, not the middle.
That being said, it was tasty, if in no way resembling a cheesecake in the slightest. Rather, it was like eating a key lime pie that had been disassembled into various components. But I have to rate it as a dessert fail based upon nomenclature alone. THIS WAS NOT CHEESECAKE.
Chocolate Cornflake Microbites
Faux Grant recommended the chocolate cornflakes, a dessert that he has had personal experience making at home. I popped one into my mouth and was immediately struck by the fact that the “microbite” claim was completely wrong. I suddenly had a giant lump of jagged sharp chocolate in my mouth. Total choking hazard. And sadly, not all that tasty either. The ratio of chocolate to cornflake was completely off. Instead of having the cornflakes serve as a slightly salty platform upon which to layer chocolate, so that one would get a crunchy, delicate sweetness, the chocolate instead served as a binding agent that completely overwhelmed (and hardened!) the cornflakes. I prefer my chocolate without the potentially fatal surprise of breakfast cereal rocks for my windpipe. Faux Grant reported, however, that the store-bought Chocolate Cornflakes were still better than the ones he made at home, where the chocolate content was completely off the scale.
A layer of shortbread, a layer of caramel, and a layer of chocolate mousse? All with a slightly charming name? HOT DAMN YES. At last, a British dessert that lived up to my childhood expectations. It was delicious and so rich that I had to stop eating it after two bites. I probably would have enjoyed it more if the carcass of the failed cheesecake hadn’t been staring me in the face.
Up next: the British Crisp and Chocolate report!