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Nostalgic puddings and treats we still love

Food and memories go hand-in-hand – flavours, textures and smells all have the power to transport us back to another place or time, and this is particularly true with sweet treats and desserts. It could be the smell of a freshly baked cake in your grandparents’ kitchen, the first thing you learnt to bake at home or a cherished school dinner pud served with lashings of custard. We’ve collected together our favourite nostalgic treats with updated recipes that you can still enjoy today.

  1. Steamed sponge pudding

    There’s nothing more wonderfully retro than a classic steamed pudding. The steaming method may seem a little old-fashioned – although nowadays, many recipes can also be cooked in the microwave – but it’s worth it when you turn out the final tender sponge and gloriously sticky topping from the pudding bowl. With warming spices and a gorgeous garnish, this orange, clove and ginger treacle sponge recipe is a delicious recipe to try at home.

    Steamed sponge pudding
  2. Arctic roll

    Many of us have a soft spot for the fun, ice cream-filled arctic roll. Although the classic version is very simple, with a vanilla ice cream centre wrapped in a layer of jam and sponge cake, this frozen treat can also be spun in very delicious ways. Turn it into a glamorous dinner party dessert with this Black Forest arctic roll recipe – Black Forest gateau is a retro classic in its own right of course, but the flavours of chocolate, cherry and vanilla are also a match made in heaven. 

    Arctic roll
  3. Battenberg

    The humble Battenberg was delivering multi-coloured cake deliciousness a good century before the current trend for surprise-in-the-middle cakes came along. Bake as one large Battenberg cake to slice and serve with tea, or try transforming the flavours and colours into another bake with these gorgeous Battenberg macarons.

  4. Rice pudding

    When made badly, rice pudding is a terrible thing: stodgy, lumpy and claggy. But, made well, it’s a totally different story – lusciously creamy and fragrant, and delicious hot or cold. This slow-cooker rice pudding recipe, is a delicately spiced and comforting treat, flavoured with fragrant star anise, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, that delivers on all these fronts. 

    Rice pudding
  5. Jelly

    Bringing back memories of birthday parties, paper plates and ice cream, a wibbly, wobbly plate of colourful jelly is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Jelly definitely isn’t just for kids though; a splash of booze and elegant presentation can turn this childhood treat into a truly sophisticated dessert. Try a fresh summer spin with this gooseberry, mint and prosecco jelly recipe or classic Pimm’s and lemonade. This sophisticated blackcurrant jelly has a hit of cassis, and these dairy-free coconut milk jellies, lightly spiced and flavoured with rum, feel entirely grown-up. 

  6. Bread and butter pudding

    Cheap to make, yet unfailingly comforting, a simple bread and butter pudding is the ultimate winter-warmer. Easy to adapt with different breads and flavours, this traditional pud can be given a new lease of life with buttery brioche, as in this cinnamon-spiced bread and butter pudding, or add a chocolate custard for extra indulgence with this chocolate pudding. For an extra sweet treat, combine with another classic British pud for a sticky toffee bread and butter pudding.

    Bread and butter pudding
  7. Scones

    Sunny afternoons spent tucking in to crumbly scones topped with dollops of cream and jam are the sort of memory most people want to chalk up. Making the perfect scone recipe is a baking skill that’s easy to master, and then you can experiment with additional flavours for a new take on a cream tea. For example, these orange and cinnamon scones are delicious served with marmalade instead of jam, while these blueberry buttermilk scones are inspired by fluffy blueberry muffins.  

  8. Crumble

    Served with a jug of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a classic apple crumble is the perfect end to a Sunday lunch, but this traditional favourite is easy to update with new flavours and ideas. Embrace the autumn chill with seasonal twists such as a toffee apple crumble or pear crumble with a dark chocolate topping. For something a little different, this colourful plum crumble has added crunch with pecans and coconut.

  9. Biscuit tin classics

    Sitting down to a cup of tea and a biscuit is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and if that biscuit is homemade it makes it that bit more special. Classics like custard creams and ginger snaps are easy to whip up yourself, or for something a little more creative, these colourful party rings and decorative jammie dodgers are the perfect projects to take your biscuit baking skills to the next level.

    Biscuit tin classics