This entry to the Salon Kitchen Challenge, in which we asked for your best ice cream accouterment, comes to us from Melissa Houle, here in truncated form. To read her full paean to ice cream, visit her Open Salon blog.
Ben and Jerry? I want to marry them. Both of them. Anyone who can come up with the flavors Coffee Heath Bar Crunch and Cherry Garcia just gets me. Throw in a certain Mr. Häagen-Dazs, and I'll commit trigamy with Mr. Dove Bar as a spare boyfriend seen on the sly. Talk about Italian gelato, and naturally, we're discussing ice cream-motivated polyamory that would make the entire FLDS look like a bunch of undersexed feebs. During my trip to Italy in 2003, I sampled local gelato every time I had a chance. Sour cherry, peach, chocolate hazelnut, strawberry, pistachio; pomegranate, orange, lemon and raspberry sorbetto -- I tasted every one. Italians had some other flavors I couldn't identify or pronounce, but when that situation arose, I could still point and smile.
I don't own an ice cream maker, being wise enough to myself to know my having unsupervised access to one is a Seriously Bad Idea.™ So despite nostalgic memories of making hand-cranked ice cream back at summer camp, I will not be providing actual ice cream recipes. This is more about my latest idea for a good, fruity summer sundae.
For me, a good sundae has variety, not only of flavors, but of textures and temperatures as well. I want warm combined with cold, crunchy combined with smooth, tart with sweet. Size is important, too. I don't want a 10-ingredient ginormous extravaganza that leaves my taste buds confused, and me feeling nauseated and ashamed of myself before I even take the first bite. I'd much rather have a moderate-size six-ingredient sundae, all the flavors of which combine into a pleasing whole and rise from the table feeling satisfied and indulged but not humiliated at having eaten it.
When it comes to fruit and ice cream, I know the banana split is a classic, I'm an anti-banana hard-liner. Why not a peach split? A warm peach split? That would cover the variety in taste, texture and temperature in one.
I wanted to duplicate the taste of a Peach Melba with peaches and berries -- clear, bright fruit flavors that emphasize the season of both stone fruits and berries.
Broiled peach split sundae
- 4 broiled peaches (below)
- Ice creams of your choice (I like Ben and Jerry's Willie Nelson Peach Cobbler and Häagen-Dazs strawberry)
- Raspberry sauce (below)
- Ginger caramel sauce (below)
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
- Almonds, toasted, to taste
- 4 fresh cherries (Rainier, preferably)
- 1 pint basket of raspberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chambord (optional)
- ¼ cup water
- Wash raspberries and place in a saucepan with water, sugar and Chambord. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often with a whisk, and turn down to a simmer. Taste, and add more sugar if the sauce seems sour, but I like it a little tart to rescue the sundae from cloying sweetness. The thing I wanted to taste most was the raspberries. Cook to thicken juice slightly; you want a nice, runny consistency for drizzling.
- Purée the sauce in a blender, then place a sieve over a bowl or jar and pour in the purée. This will strain out most of the raspberry seeds.
Caramel Ginger Sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- Approximately 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- Measure the sugar and water into a saucepan and grate the ginger into it over medium heat, and you want to have a wire whip at hand. Caramelizing takes quite a while, but right at the end, the sugar turns golden brown with amazing speed, and from there it progresses to burned brown very quickly, which can taste bitter, so pay close attention. (When you're caramelizing sugar, attention must be paid for your safety. This is not a moment for multitasking. Burns from caramelized sugar hurt like a mo-fo. The voice of experience speaketh! But accidents can be avoided if you keep your mind on the job.)
- Cook the sugar until the water evaporates, and the syrup is bubbling thickly. Keep a close eye on the sugar as it begins to turn color, swirling the pan carefully to even the coloration. When it turns a rich golden brown, add the cream and stir, stir stir until you have a nice, smooth sauce. The sauce will bubble up when you add the cream to the hot sugar, so do it carefully. Add a little more cream if it seems too thick. Store in a canning jar in your fridge.
- 4 peaches
- Brown sugar, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, and drop in one peach for each sundae you're making. Boil fruit for one minute, then put in cold water. Peach skin should slide off easily.
- Quarter the peaches, removing the pit, and sprinkle brown sugar over each piece before popping them under a hot broiler. You want to warm the peach, but not cook it through.
Assemble the sundaes
This would be a good sundae for sundae bar assembly, letting guest make their own. Put two peach quarters at the bottom of the bowl with some raspberry sauce, add the ice cream and the remaining two peach quarters, then drizzle on some of both the sauces. On top of that, add a nice mound of whipped cream, the chopped toasted almonds, more drizzles of both sauces, and a Rainier cherry to go with the peach and pink color scheme.