American desserts’ tradition
When it comes to USA it seems quite inappropriate to talk about tradition. Due to our millennial history, we, people from the “old-world”, look down -and even treat with arrogance- everything that concerns the made in USA culture, especially when dealing with culinary culture.
And yet, tempus fugitand a long time has passed from that distant 1492 when Columbus landed in the West Indies. It has been long enough to allow the Forever Young Americato have its historical background. A background full of events and rich in mixtures, influences, changes and inventions like no other culture.
Not only French and English people, but also the Spaniards, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Italians, the Irish and still others, have literally filled up the boundless spaces of the conquered lands with their traditions, including their culinary habits. And, of course, the Afro-Americans as well have deeply mixed their culinary traditions with those of the country where they “settle down”.
Thus, we can expect that over the centuries a new culture – which can boast to have its own traditions, despite originating from other nationalities’ traditions – has born. The driving force of the New World has been capable of creating new languages in every cultural field.
As a result, the “culture without tradition” of the American desserts has become even more familiar and well known than our own, thanks to – for example – the language of cinema, which in U.S.A has built an empire capable of influencing the whole world.
American desserts: from Hollywood to our own kitchen
Thanks mainly to the Hollywood movie industry, the U.S.A culture has entered our homes…and our kitchens!
Everyone knows, for example, which dish the Americans prepare to celebrate the “Thanksgiving Day”, even though in Italy it’s not celebrated. The stuffed turkey, burnt or not, has been the protagonist of quite a lot of scenes of a huge number of movies.
How many “backyard barbecues” have we seen in Hollywood movies, and – over the last few years – in TV series?
And how many of us with young children, don’t celebrate the October 31 night with treats and pumpkins, even if Halloween is a totally made in USA celebration?
Let’s give the placetto the American cuisine for what concerns the pastry tradition and let’s browse through its specialties.
American desserts out of commercials
Another peculiar aspect of the American culture is that of being the home of advertisements, which contributed as much as cinema to the worldwide spread of the American habits.
A toposwhich always occurs in the American advertisements is the smile. We all have in our minds the picture of the typical American housewives from the 50s who, with adorable aprons and trays of perfect sweets in their hands, wink at us showing their perfectly white teeth with a dazzling smile.
Even today, it is essential for the Americans to show a flawless smile. So much better for the dentists, given that the American desserts are among the most delicious ones imaginable.
Nice to see and rich in color, the pastry made in U.S.A is one of the most gorgeous and spectacular!
Made in USA: world-wide famous American desserts
Among the most famous American desserts there is the classic apple pie, the one celebrated in many books, movies and even songs. This cake is so representative of the American tradition that it is called American Pie. Everyone remembers the homonymous Don McLean’s song that became famous in the ‘70s, and, once again, in the ‘90s thanks to a Madonna’s cover version.
In the Fine Food Group catalogue the Apple Pie cannot be missed.
It can be found in the real American version, without the short pastry covering. As a matter of fact, even if usually it is pictured with the apple filling held in short pastry layer-both over and under the filling- it is the English version of the recipe. The American one is focused on preparing the short pastry made with a good quantity of butter, knead directly in the dough.
To the delight of those with a sweet tooth who don’t eat animal-derived food, in the Fine Food catalogue there is a completely vegan Apple Pie, made without eggs and butter.
To serve it like we were in Duckburg, in Grandma Duck’s yard, the Apple Pie must be served warm with cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.
New York Cheesecake
Another American dessert that has become very popular is the New York Cheesecake, an easy cake to be made but with old roots. Many people trace the tradition desserts made with cheese even back to Ancient Greece. It needs to be said that the current recipe involves a creamy cheese that was completely unknown in ancient times. Furthermore, the modern version, that is traced back to the city of Philadelphia, where the creamy kneading of the “quark” cheese was invented, is made with crumbled biscuits.
The New York version of the recipe, that can be found in the Fine Food Group catalogue, uses steamed milk and dry biscuits like graham crackers. This dessert can be served just like that or with a soft fruits garnishing. It is the Big Apple’s pastry icon. It combines a cool and rigorous appearance with a rich and irresistible taste.
Very American desserts
Choco Peanut Butter Pie Reese
Some of the specialties in theDessertcategory of Fine Food Group are considered to be American tradition’s desserts due to their ingredients, typical of the USA cuisine. The Choco Peanut Butter Pie Reese is a good example.
This cake’s recipe, made with dark chocolate mousse, involves peanut butter, the famous food that makes Goofy –Pippo in Italian, the bungling Mikey Mouse friend-go crazy!
Oreo Dream Pie
The Oreo Dream Pie is another all-American pie. It is a white and dark chocolate cake, with famous Oreo cookies chopped inside. These delicious cookies, of the American company Nabisco,are so loved that their success has remained constant for decades and, furthermore, they have recently experienced a new wave of fame. The Sweet Street Desserts, an American desserts top-class producer attentive to markets’ trends and inclinations, has produced this typical made in the USA recipe, with yummy results!
The Pecan Pie is a typical dessert of the South USA’s cuisine. Usually it is served during holidays, especially on Thanksgiving. It is a delicious pie made with a particular short-crust pastry and filled with jam and pecan nuts, which are called American nuts.
Raspberry & Pistacchio Frangipane
And, lastly, a special cake that we think would be perfect on the Mad Hatter’s table at tea time: the Raspberry & Pistachio Frangipane. It is a tart filled with, pistachios, raspberries delicious frangipane cream, a name that evokes Mediterranean aromas, made with almond flour, sugar, butter and eggs. The name of this cream is the same of the beautiful and very scented flowering plant, also known as Pomelia, that can commonly be found in southern Italy. Besides evoking the scent of the flower, this name shows the Italian roots of this recipe.
Sweet bakery and small pastries made in USA
Heirs to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, desserts and small pastries of the American cuisine are rich in butter and chocolate.
Among the most loved and famous American desserts, made of these two ingredients, there are the renowned brownies. These sweets, made with dark chocolate, enriched with pecan nuts (the typical American nuts used in many different USA pastry recipes)
The history tells that this recipe was created in about 1800, by a rich lady from Chicago who wanted to offer a unique dessert to the costumers of her hotel. And so it was that Berthe Palmer, for her Palmer Hotel, created the first brownie, clearly named after its brown color due to the dark chocolate.
In the Fine Food Group catalogue, always attentive to the needs of those people with special dietary needs, also a gluten-free version of Brownies is available. This recipe contains a low amount of flour and it can be easily replaced by gluten-free flours.
A super delicious variation of the typical Brownie is the Cookies and Cream Brownie, that is basically a brownie sandwich, filled with white chocolate cream and garnished with cookies in pieces. Something amazing for those with a sweet tooth!
Simple and discreet, but famous and delicious, here it is another essential dessert for the American cuisine: pancakes.
Easy to be prepared at home, pancakes in USA are definitely inseparable from maple syrup. That’s because the spongy texture of its dough goes perfectly with this sweet dressing, similar to honey but particularly aromatic, which impregnates it giving it a distinctive flavor. Pancakes stand out in different kinds of breakfasts, in Europe as well as overseas.
Muffin & Donuts
Muffin and Donuts complete the round-up of small American pastries.
Muffins, also cooked in savory versions, are originally a British dessert.
In their American version, muffins rise, taking the shape of a mini cake. A treat that can be eaten in two bites, which is irresistible in its cocoa version, with a melted core and dark chocolate nuggets inside. Another version, the Red Velvet, is characterized by a red sponge cake.
Donuts – a neologism of pastry created from the crasis between the words doughand nuts, which are the main ingredients used in the original recipes – are medium-sized ring-shaped cakes, that lent themselves to endless interpretations. Famous thanks to fast foods – which always have them in their menu – Donuts are a typical American dessert made with Manitoba flour and fried.
Creative pastry chefs have created versions of Donuts covered with different delicious and unusual frostings. In the Fine Food Group, we friendly call them Dots: they can be filled with creams (chocolate, of course, but also custard and strawberry), and always frosted. Among the most creative Donuts, there’s the one covered with frosting and mini cookies, or the one covered with marshmallows, funny and colored, or the Purple White Dot, covered with purple frosting and pieces of white chocolate.
In the 5 flavors package, the Dots’ flavors are: lemon, strawberry, vanilla and 2 different kinds of chocolate.
(American) Dulcis in fundo
After this overview of the most famous and loved desserts of the American tradition, it’s now time to talk about the most spectacular ones as well.
We will present you some of the specialties – all of them are present in the Fine Food Group catalogue in the “Desserts” category – which not only will whet your mouth for the richness of their ingredients, but will also turn your head for their gorgeous appearance.
Starting from the same recipe of Brownies, but adding layers of cream, here it is the Blackout Cheesecake, one of the many layered cakes which, besides having a delicious taste, have also a satisfying appearance. In this traditional and pretty classic cake, two layers of “vanilla cheesecake” alternate with layers of chocolate brownies, covered with a shower of milk chocolate curls.
Also belonging to the multi-layered cakes, is the famous Red velvet, a unique and irresistible cake also thanks to its look: a spectacular bright red sponge cake combined with a marshmallows frosting and a dazzling withe crème fraiche. This color contrast assures its spectacularity, the reason why the Red Velvet has been inserted by directors in many of their movies, mango which we mention “Steel Magnolias”, the Julia Roberts 1989 movie.
For all the chocolate lovers, the Mega Fabulous Chocolate Cake is unbeatable. Typical of the American cuisine, this cake combines the strong presence of chocolate with an extra-large size. It is frosted on the top, obviously with cocoa frosting!
Talking about multi-layered cakes, nothing beats the Carrot cake, with its 4 thick layers! This recipe has Anglo-Saxon origins, and it has become one of the favorite in the American cuisine. Its secret lies in the contrast between the ingredients used: the low-calories orange vegetable is counterbalanced by the filling made with rich white chocolate cream.
The Strawberry Cheesecake follows a similar pattern: fresh and beautiful strawberries are mixed with white chocolate, cream cheese like Philadelphia and butter biscuits; you will fall in love with it, it’s guaranteed!
With a dark look, another cake that is nice and tasty – where creams are combined with fruit – is the Chocolate & Orange Cake. This cake, despite not being layered, is particularly thick thanks to its base made of a super soft sponge cake, filled with orange cream. The dark chocolate frosting that covers it, is ran through by orange frosting threads, a color contrast extremely endearing.
A footnote for the sweet tooth and the sympathizers
The American desserts represent a universe, not only rich in ingredients – as we have seen so far – but also in terms of diversity.
There is plenty of creativity, of colors, of daring combinations of ingredients, and there is the space to invent even more! Just think about cupcakes, the sweets similar to muffins, but “dressed” (since its name derives from the word “cup” staying for cap) with endless delicious variations!
Therefore, our opinion is that – except in the case of serious medical conditions – it is better to satisfy a sin of gluttony, if you must, diving into this wonderful world!
To do so, just visit the Fine Food Group catalogue. There are two categories dedicated to desserts, where you can find American desserts and much more: Dessert and Sweet Bakery.