Perfect Puddings

Did you sigh at semolina, toy with your trifle or simply celebrate all dishes involving custard?

Childhood puddings may be a dim and distant memory for some of us, but for others they have been comforting friends on our journey to more senior years.

And what could have been a more welcome sight on the 1950s ‘ table than a pineapple upside-down cake? After years of wartime austerity and rationing, the exotic, glorious, golden treat brought a much needed ray of sunshine to the table. Naturally, the pineapples were tinned.

Milk puddings were cheap and nutritious and have withstood the test of time. So hands up for rice, semolina, tapioca (frog’s spawn) and macaroni – with or without the optional blob of jam.

Who remembers the kitchen walls running with steam as your mum boiled a suet pudding, spotted dick, jam roly poly or syrup pudding? But it wasn’t just mums who stepped up to the cooker as one Spring Chicken recalls.

My dad always made the best spotted dick ever either with syrup or custard

Another says,

They took hours and you had to keep refilling the pan of boiling water

At some time or other everybody had a tin of Nestle Carnation Milk and tinned fruit in the store cupboard. It was a reliable standby and useful if unexpected guests stayed for tea.

One reader sums it up,

That was luxury in the 50s and early 60s!

Jelly and blancmange are high on our list of pudding memories. Although not always fondly, as one of our number states.

Hated blancmange. It was awful. The one we had at school had lumps in it.

Not so for another.

We had it every Sunday for tea with jelly. Loved it.

Interestingly, jelly was also a beauty aid.

Used to buy my own packet out of my meagre pocket money, so I could have a cube every day. All to help strengthen my nails, or so I was told.

Jelly still has a place in our hearts decades on, “I still nick one cube when I make jelly for my grandchildren!

Trifle was a teatime treat, often reserved for special occasions. It had and still has many variations. Tinned fruit, fresh fruit, sponge fingers, crunchy biscuits, fresh cream, artificial cream but always custard. It could prove time consuming to make.

Not so for all the housewives who embraced the cheerful packet trifle made by Birds. Its colourful carton housed five cheeky sachets – a one stop shop to make a strawberry trifle including the sponge, jelly crystals, custard, Dream Topping and the little packet of sprinkles to ensure a stylish completion.

One Spring Chicken says,

This was always on the menu when I went to tea with my friend on a Saturday. When I saw the trifle in the bowl I was always amazed that it had all fitted in the packet!

Angel Delight still continues to delight us since its advent in the 60s.

It came in various flavours including chocolate, strawberry and butterscotch and was simple to make. The powder was simply whipped up with fresh milk and was a cheap and cheerful family favourite – for most of us.

Did not really like it, but if you wanted your family to have enough milk and calcium you used it. Thanks mum!

The arrival of Wimpy bars to the High Street brought us the flamboyant and extravagant banana split. This luxurious looking dessert was soon being copied up and down the country.

The specially shaped ‘banana boat’ dishes were a must have item in many homes.

Still got my banana boats, but not use them for about 40 years. My kids loved them and I did too

As more and more households invested in fridges and freezers chilled and frozen desserts came to the fore. What a relief it must have been for hard pressed housewives to simply take out a ready made pudding without having to prepare one from scratch.

Birds Eye frozen desserts included individual pots containing raspberry trifle, strawberry mousse and dark chocolate dessert with real cream. But the arrival of Arctic Roll took the 70s tea table by storm.

Few could resist the moreish combination of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of sponge cake to form a roll, with a layer of raspberry flavoured jam between the ice cream and sponge.

During the 80s more than 25 miles of Birds Eye Arctic Roll were sold each month. Sadly one of our community could not enjoy this chilly treat as it was intended.

Problem being my mother left it out to defrost it!

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