Dessert is a custom known around the world, but the name comes from France. When you’ve finished with a meal, you clear away the table to make room for a sweet treat, and the word “desservir” in French literally means “to clear away.” To put it another way, it is the opposite of “servir,” meaning to serve.
With America’s rich cultural heritage, dessert can mean many different things to different people, from a simple dish of fruit to rich multilayer cakes stored in custom refrigerated display cases until sold and brought home to be enjoyed. The following are some of the most popular desserts in the United States.
1. Ice Cream
Given the vast range of ice cream flavors available, it is perhaps surprising that the most popular flavor, by a wide margin, is vanilla. Chocolate is the second-favorite but doesn’t even really come close to matching vanilla’s popularity. Vanilla was also the flavor featured in the first recipe for ice cream, published in 1792.
2. Chocolate Cake
The popularity of chocolate cake is not limited to the United States. It is reportedly the most liked all over the world, including Germany. However, German chocolate cake doesn’t actually come from Germany at all. As it turns out, German chocolate cake is an American original, invented in the late 1800s and named for its creator, a Texan whose last name happened to be “German.”
3. Apple Pie
In addition to being delicious and comforting, apple pie has a strong association with quintessential Americana. The irony here is that, unlike German chocolate cake, apple pie did not originate in the United States. It was brought over by immigrants from Europe, where it has a long history dating back to the 14th century.
Whether plain or combined with fruit, chocolate, caramel, or other flavors, many Americans regard cheesecake as a little slice of heaven on a graham cracker crust. Cheesecake is much older than you might think. An early version of it was served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in ancient Greece. They may have compared it to ambrosia, the legendary food of the gods.
All the appeal of a full-sized cake in a single serving, cupcakes are very popular in the United States. Making cupcakes isn’t too hard but it does require a muffin tin with individualized compartments to pour the batter in and special paper liners to prevent the cupcakes from sticking to the pan.
Dessert can be many things to many people, but too much of anything is bad. Whichever dessert you prefer, try to control portion size or it can be fattening or otherwise unhealthy.