More ice cream is consumed in the U.S. per person than in any other country in the world. The love of ice cream among Americans is reflected in other ways, too, not least by the fact that the U.S. has its own National Ice Cream Month. Since 1984, when President Reagan proclaimed that National Ice Cream Month be celebrated annually, every July has been a focus for greater attention to ice cream in the United States with the third Sunday of that month each year being National Ice Cream Day.
I came across a special ice cream indulgence I had never heard of while researching ice cream recipes. The “Knickerbocker Glory” is essentially a British ice cream parlor dessert, first made popular in the 1930s. Though there’s no set recipe for this concoction, it is commonly served in a tall ice cream glass as a mixture of fresh fruit in the base with optional liqueur for adults, three scoops of ice cream (usually vanilla and strawberry), peach melba sauce, whipped cream or squirted cream and a cherry (glace or fresh) on top. Variations can include jelly in the layers, different fruits, a different sauce or extra toppings such as flaked almonds; a wafer is also optional.
In Britain you can still enjoy a Knickerbocker Glory in many ice cream parlors and restaurants – or, of course, make your own at home.
Shelagh Caudle, editor of ice-cream-recipes.com comments,
“One of my fondest childhood memories growing up in England was to be on family holiday at the seaside (Scarborough was a favorite) and go looking for an ice cream parlor that served my father’s favorite dessert: a Knickerbocker Glory. “Once inside the parlour my father would place the order with great anticipation and then, whilst my mother and I enjoyed a simple ice cream cone or small sundae, we would watch him quietly relish every bit of that Knickerbocker Glory.”
Served in a tall glass it usually it took some time to eat, yet he never rushed and he never left any of it! Today, some 40 years later, he still loves the dessert and sees it as a special treat — a glorious tribute to the magic of ice cream!”
She goes on to explain that there does not appear to be one clearly defined, proven origin for The Knickerbocker Glory but she provides a few clues as to the possibilities.
The name “Knickerbocker” is generally associated with the early days of New York. New York (both state and city) were known for a long time as New Amsterdam, so named by Dutch settlers there in the 17th and 18th centuries. The term Knickerbocker was used to describe a descendant of the original Dutch settlers in the area who came from The Netherlands.
The term is believed to come from the fictional Diedrich Knickerbocker, who “wrote” Washington Irving’s History of New York.
The bit of trivia I found most interesting, being a Harry Potter fan, is that author J.K. Rowling featured a Knickerbocker Glory in one of her Harry Potter stories. Since the latest Potter film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, based on the sixth book of the series, was just released, what a perfect dessert tribute it is for this July!