Southern Sweets Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 1 Comment
Lemon Icebox Pie
Before WWII, many Southern families relied on iceboxes (the precursor to the refrigerator: literally a box that would hold a block of ice to keep things inside of it cold) for cool drinks and desserts to help alleviate the heat of summer in the South. Because Lemon Icebox Pie requires no cooking, and instead is created by the ingredients setting in the cold, this chilled tart treat was a favorite. Then, when the electric refrigerator was born, Lemon Icebox Pie became a staple.
Saveur writer Meryl Rosofsky explains: “Why is bread pudding so beloved, even defining, in New Orleans? It's not that the dish was invented here - that honor likely goes to clever medieval or even ancient cooks in Europe and the Middle East who had a surfeit of stale bread on their hands. But the dessert is the perfect embodiment of the twin Creole virtues of frugality and indulgence: day-old bread, too precious to waste, is bathed in a mixture of milk, eggs, and sugar, perhaps mixed with nuts and fruit, and baked into something sublime.”
This exciting dessert, made with bananas and vanilla ice cream, is always a show stopper in Southern restaurants and theatrically-inclined dinner parties. The sauce, made from dark rum and banana liqueur, is set aflame before eating. Another New Orleans nod, Bannanas Foster began in New Orleans in 1951, and it was created by the executive chef at Brennan's, Paul Blangé.
In the February 1978 issue of Southern Living, Mrs. L.H. Wiggin supplied the first printed recipe for Hummingbird Cake. However, for years countless references in baking competitions in county fairs and community cookbooks had appeared for this delicate pineapple and banana cake in the South. Generally thought to have been invented in Jamaica in the late 1960’s, it is said it’s sweet enough to attract hummingbirds, who eat only nectar.
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