In Search of the "Nigerian Desserts"

In search of the Nigerian Desserts

Desserts are an import to Nigeria but are actually really loved by Nigerians who live or lived in the western world and are accustomed to western cuisine.

While the French are the masters of desserts, Nigerians (or West Africans) are not the only people who are not regular dessert eaters. The French, English and Americans will perhaps expect to have dessert after a meal, but the rest of the world would probably not care much and only eat some on special occasions.

So most desserts known to Nigerians are foreign, as I said, with no authentic ingredients used in making them. Typical desserts served would be ice-cream, tarts or cakes and fruit salads. Well these are the typical desserts served across the world, but its interesting to see that even with these common components of a dessert, different countries are still able to carve their own niches,,,,for example the French are known for their verrines and the British known for trifles, Italians are known for their exotic ice-creams.....pistachio flavoured ice-cream for example.

A question was posed to a colleague (who is a fine dining caterer) recently about the Nigerian Dessert..... This was meant to be served at a high society wedding at the V&A museum. The people getting married were Nigerians and they wanted a full contemporary Nigerian menu. Well the starter and main dish were Nigerian but the dessert had to be something borrowed from another cuisine type.

This inspired me to create desserts incorporating Nigerian authentic ingredients and I have been hard at work. I recently began to follow some of the top dessert chefs and I am particularly fascinated by the work of a Mexican dessert chef who has incredible talent in incorporating fresh fruits with frozen food such as ice cream and sorbets, as well as using sponge cakes made with unlikely ingredients like beet, guava etc. His presentation is always spectacular, and "I would like to be like him when I grow up..." hehehe.

I know Nigeria is blessed with a lot of exotic fruits that can be used in clever ways to make top quality desserts, but I have not been able to lay my hands on them. Though in the past, I made an ice-cream cake from agbalumo (Star fruit) and it turned out delicious. Sorrel (zobo sobolo, ishapa pupa) is one of the fruits I can easily get here in the UK and I have been able to achieve some excellent results with I.... so I am excited to share some pictures with you. The recipes are being perfected and I will share them with done.

In the meantime, enjoy looking at the pictures and perhaps try to imagine the tastes. If you feel able, them please start to give it a try your self and let me know how you get on.

Check out some of my creations:
  • Sorrel Cake with Sorrel Gelee, Ice-cream and Mixed Fruits
  • Sorrel Cake and Mixed Fruits
  • Sorrel Gelee, Frozen Yoghurt and Mixed Fruits Verrine

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