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What classical desserts would you like to see make a comeback on menus?

While not extinct (at least not yet), I'd like to see the Baked Alaska make a comeback on restaurant menus.

There's something wonderfully outrageous about the simultaneous hot and cold sensation that, really, only a well-made Baked Alaska can create on the palate.

And it's sort of rather impractical to make at home unless I decide to take like a 30 minute intermission between dinner and dessert, which isn't really something I really want to do. I'd be too tempted to just dig in on the ice cream without bothering with the meringue ...

What about you? What desserts would you like to see make a comeback?

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  1. If you use an Italian meringue, you can do make and pipe the meringue earlier in the day and stick it in the freezer. You just torch when ready to service, and voila!!

    I would like more Peach Melba, please.

    1. Number 1>>>Nesselrode Pie
      Number 2>>>>>Tortone(i)

      How I miss these icons of 1950s dining in Metro NY

      I have recipes for both, but I am a cook not baker of sweets

      5 Replies
      1. re: bagelman01

        I've only had Nesselrod Pie at Stage Deli in NYC. In fact, that's only place I've ever seen it.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          The last time I found it being served was in 1992 at a Sunday Brunch at a long closed hotel in Springfield, MA.

          It is not on Stage Deli's menu, maybe you got lucky and it was a featured special

          I'd make it, but it's lots of work and I am not a sweets baker.

          1. re: bagelman01

            I had it at Stage Deli when Reagen was still president.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Nesselrod Pie was served at Paddy's Clam House 34th St......long ago. It came with the fish of the day lunch.

            1. re: ospreycove

              Problem was, all the rstaurants got them from one supplier in NYC who closed in the 1970s. Arthur Schwartz wrote a great section about it in his history of NY dining book. http://www.foodmaven.com/nycfood/inde...

              Today, IF you can ever find one, it's made with ersatz ingredients and isn't worth eating. Mrs. Bagelman does bake in cool weatherf, and I'm going to see what bauble it will take to entice her to try the recipe in Arthur's book.

        2. Bananas Foster!!!

          Ice cream, bananas, flames - what could be better?

          5 Replies
            1. re: meatn3

              Bananas foster is still reasonably popular in parts of the northern Gulf Coast.

              1. re: beachmouse

                Yes - other areas should follow their lead!

                1. re: beachmouse

                  beachmouse, it's also popular in Houston at Brennan's, recently re-opened after a fire destroyed it during Hurricane Ike, as well as other menus around the city.


                2. re: meatn3

                  Ice cream, bananas, RUM, butter, brown sugar and flames would be better.


                3. Coconut cream pie. Chocolate cream pie. Any other good classic American pie. We have forgotten our pies, and there's nothing better than a well-done pastry and ingredients that aren't soy based, or have all those fru-fru ingredients that can't even be found in the town where I live. Cake has become common because anyone can bake one well. A well made, tasty pie is a work of art.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: FlyinAggie

                    I see your Coconut Cream and raise you a Grasshopper.

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      God, grasshopper pie has got to come back. Please?

                      1. re: Atahualpa

                        we still make that at Christmas in my family - it's such a festive color!! And sooooo good!

                        1. re: Atahualpa

                          not a great shot......but here is the one from last Christmas...

                          1. re: Scirocco

                            My pregnant self is positively drooling right now!

                      2. re: FlyinAggie

                        Hmm, Coconut Cream Pie. One of my favorite restaurants (Farm) had this on their menu (with rum whipped cream) today, but after eating the delicious Eggplant Parm, I couldn't do it.

                        I have this problem all the time: By the time I've eaten the savory part of my meal, I don't "have room" for a sweet. I think that maybe I should just go and order dessert.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          I have the same problem. However, on my most recent vacation I managed to cram in a couple of deserts and blimey were they good.

                        2. re: FlyinAggie

                          French silk. Real butter, meringue, and chocolate. Yum.

                          1. re: FlyinAggie

                            I like pies of all types, but coconut cream is my absolute favorite and it gets my vote.

                          2. Real pecan pie.
                            More pecans than custard, and no stupid flavor like lemon juice, or whathaveyou.

                            I'd also love to see simple plates of reasonably priced, cut, "in season" fruit.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: gordeaux

                              >>and no stupid flavor like lemon juice, or whathaveyou.

                            2. Hmm. Good pie, overall, is a challenge to find. But I have a soft spot for profiteroles, myself. Chocolate mousse. Devil's food cake, with 7-minute frosting, which is much like marshmallow.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: lemons

                                  I didn't realize profiteroles had disappeared. They seem to be on the dessert menu of every Italian restaurant in my area (of course, some do a better job than others).

                                2. Pineapple upside-down cake! So good! Never see it on menus!

                                  1. I'll jump aboard the Baked Alaska wagon.

                                    Here in Cambridge at Oleana they have a Baked Alaska w/ Coconut Ice Cream & Passion Fruit Caramel. It is soo rich and sweet but so good.

                                    1. Strawberry shortcake, with REAL biscuit shortcake, served in a shallow bowl with thick (not whipped) cream poured over. One local restaurant had a wonderful variant, a rich flaky pie-shell filled with a mixture of whipped cream and macerated berries and kept in the bottom of the cooler. When their regular pies were 15¢ a slice, that was a quarter, and it still sold out every day they had it.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Crepes Suzette. Flamed at the table.
                                        It's still around, but the places that do it anymore are few and far between (at least here in the West).

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          The real biscuit shortcake makes all the difference, doesn't it, Will? It's a little salty, has a slightly crunchy outside and contrasts well with the sweetness of the thick cream and the whole and macerated strawberries. And I agree with you about the thick cream poured over the top. It's about halfway between whipped and liquid heavy cream, the perfect consistency.

                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                            Yes. Crunchy and crusty, and the biscuit's rich enough so it doesn't dissolve in the juice but holds and extends it. Even better if it's warm, the berries are room temp and the cream is cold... Oh, I think I just gained three pounds writing this!

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              That is exactly the way we ate strawberry shortcake in my house growing up and I really miss those days. We do have a restaurant that has it on the menu but it comes with pound cake and ice cream which is disappointing to me. That is closer to an ice cream sundae, not shortcake.

                                        2. Lemon meringue pie. It has all but disappeared. If you make it at home it's pretty labor-intensive and I haven't had a bought one that is fit to eat.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Querencia

                                            I always thought I didn't like lemon meringue pie until I actually made one myself (my husband's request). Turns out I didn't like STORE BOUGHT lemon meringue pie! What a huge difference when it's homemade. None of that gross medicinal flavor and scary neon yellow color! LOL

                                            1. re: Scirocco

                                              It's even better with juice from homegrown lemons. One of my favorites.

                                          2. "There's something wonderfully outrageous about the simultaneous hot and cold sensation that, really, only a well-made Baked Alaska can create on the palate."

                                            The meringue on baked Alaska is a poor conductor of heat making it possible for it to be baked or flambé'd tableside without melting the ice cream. Had baked Alaska many times and there was never a "hot" sensation to the meringue.

                                            Many of the classical desserts mentioned above are still staples on cruise ships.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: monku

                                              I've had it several times where the merinque was still warm. Certainly much warmer than the ice cream inside.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Warm like room temperature but definitely not hot.

                                            2. This might be a dumb question, but what is a Baked Alaska?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: mymomisthebestcook

                                                Read about it here: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=baked+alaska

                                                And then drool over the pick appended below.

                                              2. a good chocolate mousse and I love chocolate profiteroles stuffed with whipped cream and extra chocolate sauce poured over the top.

                                                Did American restaurants have a dessert trolley - they were infamous in Italian trattorias in London in the 60s. Man they were heaven on wheels.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: smartie

                                                  Some Canadian and US posh ones did in the '70s, chocolate mousse, various usually not terrific cakes with the obligatory Black Forest cake, strawberries or raspberries with whipped cream, floating island maybe, a lemon tart or fruit tarts. The last place I saw one was le Bec Fin in Philadelphia about 12 yrs ago.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Suites at sports stadiums all have dessert trays (or trolleys).

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      You travel in more exalted circles than I. Will never see same anyway because am not in the least fond of sports.

                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                      Although LeBec Fin is slated to close this year, they do still have the dessert cart. Now excuse me while I float off into a trance, reliving that cart in all its glory.

                                                    3. re: smartie

                                                      I was going to plump for profiteroles, but since you beat me to it, I'll say:


                                                      1. re: FrankD

                                                        Why not go all the way to a Gâteau St.-Honoré, with a stopoff at cream puff swans.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Is there a bad way to serve puff pastry with cream and caramelized sugar? Chocolate, of course, is a desirable option.

                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                            I like it even better without, to tell the truth. As much as I bake with chocolate it's not my first choice if given one.

                                                        2. re: FrankD

                                                          frank, did you say "plump for profiteroles"? LOL!

                                                          yeah, baby, plump me up!

                                                      2. Other posters have already vouched for some of my favorites (fruit pies, pecan pie, cream pies, and chocolate mousse), and I would add pudding. I love pudding, and I can (and do) make pudding, but sometimes I just want someone to make it for me. Except for rice pudding: I have never had a good one in a restaurant, and wish they would quit trying.

                                                        1. fresh pineapple & good (or even mediocre) Kirschwasser

                                                          1. Chestnut Mont Blanc: sweetened chestnut purée pressed through a ricer on to a disc of meringue, topped with a rosette of whipped cream and a candied violet. Lat time I had this I got it at a patisserie in the (unexpectedly) terrific food hall at Shinagawa station in Tokyo and ate it on the shinkansen to Kyoto. Heaven. And the box it was packed in had a little corral in one corner with some dry ice in it to keep the confection cold. Yet another example of Japanese packaging genius.

                                                            1. Peach Melba. We were fortunate a few weeks ago and got some wonderful fresh, juicy, sweet, ripe peaches. We have canned raspberries that make a wonderful raspberry sauce and of course vanilla ice cream. It was so good.

                                                              Cherries Jubilee. Another fruit and ice cream combination but with fire.

                                                              Boston Cream Pie. It's a lovely cake with a pastry cream layer in the middle and a thin chocolate glaze on top of vanilla cake.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: clematis

                                                                Oeufs a la neige or ile flotant. These meringue-like clouds float on a sauce and are heavenly. I'm not a dessert eater anymore, but I'd cave for either of these, if I ever see them on a menu again. I'm also fond of spicy gingerbread (cake-form). I live in Canada and have never had key lime pie. I'd love to try the real deal sometime, made with freshly squeezed key limes.

                                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                  Had that floating cloud thing on a cruise, they said it was Ronald Reagan's favorite dessert.

                                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                    ina garten made those last season for a little dinner party. i could tell that she loved saying the name of the dish. here's jacques' recipe, with a rum custard sauce: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                    weren't they originally said to compare with a woman's breasts? <not pamela anderson's, though. more like meg ryan's. LOL!>

                                                                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                      only if you have the caramel sauce to drizzle over the meringue.

                                                                    2. re: clematis

                                                                      BIg vote for Boston Cream Pie here too

                                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                                        I third the vote for Boston Cream Pie

                                                                    3. Charlotte Russe, Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake, Fresh Cherries Jubilee, and those retro drinks like Brandy Alexander, Grasshopper, Pink Squirrel, and true Chocolate Silk Pie made with leaf-lard crust. Actually, any cream pie made with leaf-lard crust. Apple dumplings with cinnamon sauce and chopped walnuts and thick (not whipped) cream and true freshly-made congealed salads with fresh fruit juices and fresh fruits, with whipped cream.

                                                                      1. This is probably a Pittsburgh thing, but Pecan Ball. Its a scoop of French Vanilla (must be Fr. Vanilla) ice cream rolled in toasted, and possibly lightly salted Pecan halves. Its refrozen after rolling in the nuts. Then the scoop is put into one of those metal diner-like sundae dishes, and hot fudge poured over. Top with w.cream and a cherry, Seen often on the dessert menu at finer establishments that also served relish trays prior to the meal. Late '70's/early 80's. Those were the days...

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mkmccp

                                                                            - mkmccp - Pittsburgh seems to have a very interesting dessert culture - there was an article in the NYT recently about the wedding cookie tables. Sign me up for the Pecan Ball and this tradition, very nice.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              Cookie tables are the bomb, especially if it's the bride's mother, gmother, aunts, etc who make the cookies. Lady Locks are a must as well.

                                                                          2. A decadent Choclate fondue with lots of yummy things to dip!

                                                                            1. Bavarian Creams. I make them occasionally for company and they're always a big hit, but you almost never see them in restaurants.

                                                                              My favorite version is one I make with maple syrup, garnished with pecans (plain or candied).

                                                                              I also love the closely related dish panna cotta (same basic ingredients, but in a Bavarian some or all of the cream is whipped) but that's pretty common these days - trendy even. For some reason the Bavarian is not.

                                                                              1. I'll third, fourth, and fifth the croquembouche and add babas au rhum. I make lemon meringue pie all the time, but would happily order it if I knew the restaurant could make it well.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                  a good key lime pie would be nice too.

                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                    guys, key lime pie is child's play. This is the recipe every Floridian learns to make as soon as they're old enough to see over the cabinets.

                                                                                    Graham cracker crust (crushed Digestives for those of you outside North America) Make your own, or buy the premade one from the grocery. (Want a real changeup? Make a crust with crushed Ritz crackers -- Tuc for the Europeans -- and get a salty-sweet thing going)

                                                                                    3 egg yolks
                                                                                    1 can sweetened condensed milk
                                                                                    1/3-1/2 cup Key Lime juice
                                                                                    (no, don't even ask if you can substitute Persian limes, because you can't. Key lime or bust, babies.)

                                                                                    Stir together the egg yolks and condensed milk. Add the Key lime juice a few tablespoons at a time...the acid "cooks" the proteins, and it will get thick like a custard. When it begins to set (and tastes tart, but not sour) slip it into the pie crust.

                                                                                    Beat the 3 egg whites to a stiff peak and add 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Pile on top of the filling and brown at 375 (190C) 10-15 minutes or until just the tops of the peaks are golden.

                                                                                    Refrigerate 2-3 hours and serve.

                                                                                    The purists like it bare -- not even meringue...but adding whipped cream is grounds for a beating, and Cool Whip could get you killed.

                                                                                    Don't cook the filling (just whatever heating it gets to brown the meringue)-- and if you add green food coloring, you don't deserve to keep your Chowhound account. Key limes are yellow, not green.

                                                                                2. I'd like to see hot fudge sundae and creme dementhe parfait on menus. I always go for ice cream. Also some homemade puddings with whipped cream.