Indulging in dessert after a meal is one of life’s simple pleasures. But when you’re at a restaurant nowadays, desserts tend to fall into only a couple categories: a standard assortment of cakes and pies, and brand new creations dreamed up by a pastry chef. What happened to those classic old desserts that were popular decades ago? They’re still just as delicious as they’ve always been, and they need to make a comeback.
Culinary trends, just like anything else, come and go. Just like meatloaf and liver and onions aren’t the menu staples they used to be, desserts that were once menu standbys have gone by the wayside as well. If you walk into a diner and take a look at the dessert selection today, the offerings will be much skimpier than they used to be. We bet that the majority of those desserts won’t be home-made. Where fine dining restaurants used to all offer a similar variety of classy and time-tested desserts, today they tend to showcase the pastry chef’s prowess. If an old-time dessert does appear on the menu, it’s usually “deconstructed” or reimagined in some way.
Over the years, desserts that started out as refined became watered down and poorly made, so they eventually fell out of fashion, like once-popular entrees including duck à l’orange (which isn’t actually supposed to be served with an overly sweet, gloopy sauce). There’s certainly nothing wrong with letting pastry chefs show off their ample skills in the kitchen. But if there’s an impression that these dishes have fallen out of favor because they’re not very good, well, that’s simply wrong.
So read on to learn about 13 desserts from back in the day that you don’t hear about too often anymore. If you happen to live near a restaurant that serves excellent versions of these (or even better, if you can prepare them yourself), consider yourself lucky because they’re becoming harder and harder to find.