HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


help me pick a "mad man" era dessert for christmas

can you help me choose a dessert for a "mad men" era christmas dinner? we will be having standard american fare (ham, potatoes, peas, etc.) using vintage recipes straight from the 1960s cookbooks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. a tiered jello dessert- check out joys of jello 1963 ed.
      beautiful desserts and there is simply not enough jello at the dinner table any more.

      personal favs.
      crown jewel dessert- it looks like floating stained glass
      supreme dessert- elegant parfaits with fruit suspended in them

        1. re: mamachef

          I second the grasshopper pie -- boozy and era appropriate.

        2. Gottabea "Floating Island"...mmmm. Or just pick anything from the gallery of regrettable food.

          1. You could search for the Pillsbury Bake-Off entries and winners for the years that apply.



            1. Babas au Rhum, Crepe Suzette, Cherries Jubilee, Bananas Foster, Four Season Restaurant's Coffee Souffle

              1. Nabisco chocolate wafers and whip cream cake-

                2 Replies
                1. re: margib

                  Brilliant, margib. Absolutely BRILLIANT.So retro, and so tasty after all these years. The only thing I do differently is, I don't sweeten the whipped cream, and it's even more decadent that way.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    "sweetened whipped cream"???? Hey, be authentic...Cool Whip was invented (via a test tube) in the late 60's..the 60's were allllll about the chemistry! :D

                2. Angle Cake surprise; 1-2-3 Jello (layered of course with three different flavors/colors); pineapple upside down cake; sherry drenched trifle; fruit flan. Let us not forget S'mores.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: todao

                    ...and lets not forget "Jello Christmas Poke Cake". I almost forgot that lovely bright white box mix cake with red and green jello "streams" running all through the inside layers when sliced! So Modern! Garnished with red and green gumdrops is particularly festive... as I recall.

                  2. Best possible reference for this is the Jean Anderson "American Century Cookbook" - all recipes from 1900-2000, dated. There's a very nice grapefruit layer cake in it that is very early '60s (and grapefruit are good right now). Pretty too.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: magiesmom

                        +1 for baked alaska, or baked Alaska pie (ice cream pie with torched meringue on top)

                      2. re: buttertart

                        I love this cookbook! A good reference for this question.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Love, love, love that book. Nice commentary on how the recipes fit into their times.

                        2. If you want a recipe that was used by home cooks all the time, as opposed to restaurant fare, make a Chocolate Dump Cake (recipe easy to find online). I guarantee It was served in the 60's--I was there, eating it.

                          1. I would suggest anything that you set on fire. Crepes Suzette, Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee. Those would have been "smart" desserts for the era. Anything from Julia Child. Or check out Jane and Michael Stern's "American Gourmet" for the fancy food of the era.