Knickerbocker Glory: Why the name, dear?

Knickerbocker Glory ice creams
Thanks to Sainsbury’s and Toby Scott for the image!

Ah, the Knickerbocker Glory. What’s all that about? Whilst typing out the name of this ice cream sundae we put “Knickerbloker”.

This sounds like we’re telling you to go out there and knick (steal) a bloke (or) two. We highly recommend you do not proceed with such an activity—this is known as jaywalking and can result in a £100 fine.

What’s a Knickerbocker Glory?

It’s a layered ice cream sundae in a tall glass. It’s kind of like a trifle, but has distinctive colouring and a cherry on the top.

Obviously, kids love the thing. It’s a staple of many childhoods in England. But it’s a special treat for all ages, of course.

Only spotted dick has a greater respect here in Blighty! Despite the disturbing sounding name. Well, that one and Chorley Cakes.

How Do You Make a Knickerbocker Glory?

You can follow chef Barry Lewis’ instructions in the video above (thanks, Barry).

But it’s genuinely one of the simpler desserts out there to make. And that’s despite the ridiculous name! The standard ingredients for this include:

600 grams of fresh cherries
25 grams of caster sugar
4 sheets of leaf gelatine
400 millimetres of cherry juice drink
2 tablespoons of kirsch
285 grams of cherry Madeira cake
225 grams of raspberries
2 tablespoons icing sugar

With that lot, it’s really a case of assembling it all in an appealing manner in a tall glass. And it’s the sundae’s container that’s one of the defining things about the dessert.

Then you eat it. And you’ll no doubt enjoy the thing.

The History of Knickerbocker Glory

The Knickerbocker Glory is known as an ice cream sundae which often towers some 10ft into the sky.

It’s crammed full of ice cream (duh), fruit, bits of nuts, syrup, honey, jam, possibly haggis, and then it’s all topped off with whipped cream and one of those strange preserved cherries. As an indulgent treat, it’s indulgent. It also has a stupid name.

The endearingly stupid name probably originates from the Knickerbocker Hotel in America, which opened in 1906 (and not 1907, as was violently debated at the annual Knickerbocker Glory Convention in Hull).

The debate will rage on, however, as there were also Knickerbockers in the 20th century—popular knee high baggy pants as worn by the reprobate youths and golfers of the era.

Even more confusingly, Knickerbocker (as a word) comes from Dutch settlers in New York.

Let’s put all this into a concise conclusion. A ridiculously extravagant ice cream sundae, with an equally ridiculous name, originated from a word picked up from the Dutch.

It was then to an even more ridiculous pair of trousers, which was then taken up by a fancy multistory hotel, and then became popular in England as the ice cream with the stupid name.

An illustrious history. The only thing we don’t get is why it hasn’t been adapted to the demands of Halloween: Knickerbocker GORY. What’s wrong with sticking a severed hand in there? Mwahahaha!

Dispense with some gibberish!

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