A trifle in England is not a novelty. Nor is a Bedfordshire Clanger.
They are, though, a few of England's legendary pies and puddings (what we call "desserts"). Flip through English cookbooks or Theodora FitzGibbon's "A Taste of England." There are recipes for maids of honour (curd cheese-almond-filled puff pastry). Order Spotted Dick and you'll get steamed sponge pudding with raisins. Bite into the long pastry of a Bedfordshire Clanger; one end sports a savory filling, the other sweet.
Those names? The origins of many are lost to history, but the good eating remains. The bounty of seasonal fruit and the London Olympic Games are reason enough to try one, perhaps a trifle of jam-spread sponge cake slices layered with custard then topped with whipped cream.
Much more fun is Eton Mess. Crumbled meringues are folded into sweetened crushed fruit and whipped cream for the pudding concocted at the legendary boarding school in Windsor. Chefs put posh spins on it, but cookbook author-TV celeb Delia Smith won us over with cheat's Eton Mess made with purchased meringues.
CHEAT'S ETON MESS
Makes: 6 servings
1 pound strawberries
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 pint whipping cream
Hull 1 pound strawberries. Puree half in a food processor or blender with 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar; sieve to remove seeds. Chop remaining berries. Beat 1 pint whipping cream to soft peaks. Coarsely break up purchased meringues (nests or kisses to yield about 12 cups) into a large mixing bowl. Add chopped berries. Fold in whipped cream. Fold in all but 2 tablespoons puree to create a marbled effect. Spoon into serving dishes. Drizzle remaining atop. Serve immediately.