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History in the Making: Hot Sauces + Cold Ice Cream = Melting!

If you google “sundae” the first two hits you get are wikipedia answers.  The first, of course, is the ice cream confection that just about everyone is familiar with.  You know the one – ice cream, goopy sauce of some description, maybe a marschino cherry on top. But the second one … whoa.  I almost went there.  Really.  I chickened out though.  Boiling pig intestines and filling them with noodles and pig blood just didn’t seem all that appealing and, besides, as un-Canadian as this may be, we are celebrating American Food Holidays here (silly Canadians don’t seem to have one for each day of the year – we are so out of it) so I went with the more American ice cream dessert.

I should add in here that today is also Remembrance Day – which doesn’t really have anything to do with sundaes, but I just felt it would be wrong to write something about November 11th that didn’t also take a moment to acknowledge the sacrifices of all those who have fought in and suffered through humanity’s many wars.  As the saying goes, “Lest We Forget”.  Sometimes it’s pretty easy to forget stuff like that when you’re someone who gets to live a life in which your key responsibility for the day is blogging about ice cream.

There is much debate about the origin of the sundae with two American cities fighting to take credit for the invention.  Whether it was an accidental compromise made to avoid the sinfulness of serving an ice cream soda on a Sunday (Two Rivers, Wisconsin), or whether a fountain clerk got creative in an effort to impress his boss and a local reverend (Ithaca, New York), there is no doubt that the sundae is a near ubiquitous American dessert.  Whether it be the soft-serve McDonald’s variety in a plastic cup (which, has its own fan site and strangely, makes a great dip for McD’s fries – really), or the $1,000 Grand Opulence Sundae from Serendipity in New York, there is no doubting that a sundae is a special yummy sticky messy treat.

While I was mulling my choices of toppings for whatever gourmet sundae concoction I was going to make for my blog, I did some research (wiki really – it’s pathetic that the sum total of most of my research these days comes from wiki) and was delighted, delighted, to discover that Bananas Foster is actually a sundae.  I love Bananas Foster.  Really, really.  How can you not love bananas fried in butter and brown sugar and then flambeéd in rum?  You’d have to be crazy, that’s how.

I didn’t exactly make Bananas Foster though.  I have this deep and abiding fear that my house is going to burn down.  Flambeéing anything in my house is out.  Period.  I did a little further research at Epicurious.com and rummaged around in my cupboards and freezer and eventually concocted what might have been the Greatest Sundae of All Time – and it did not involve gold leaf or celebrities.

I fried my bananas in butter and brown sugar, added a titch of cinnamon and nutmeg and then settled for deglazing the pan with rum instead of lighting it on fire.

I made two sauces.

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Boil, Boil, no Toil, no Touble!

One is a Cardamom Praline Sauce that I found on Epicurious and I invite you to click on the link for the recipe.  I picked it because the second I got this assignment, I knew I was going to make something with Cardamom in it for my sundae.  Why?  Because.  Cardamom is good.  It likes desserts.  Desserts like it.  Plus all the reviews of this recipe raved about how good it was, and how easy.  They were all correct.  It’s truly brilliant – just use more Cardamom than the recipe calls for – like a 1/2 tbsp.  N, previous guest blogger on National Candy Corn Day and willing test subject said, “the cardamom sauce tastes like Christmas.”  I do believe she was on to something.

For the other sauce, I tossed 2 cups of frozen local strawberries (the good sweet everbearing kind), 3 tbsp white sugar, 1/2 c. Sambuca, 2 tbsp. orange juice concentrate, 4 tbsp. water and a squeeze of lime juice into a saucepot.  Cooked it on medium-high until it came to a boil and then simmered until the liquid was much reduced and I had a nice thick syrup with chunks of berry floating about.  God it was good.

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"Secret" Ingredients ...

Two scoops of Praline Ice Cream surrounded by the fried bananas, a glop of Cardamom sauce on one side, a glurp of Strawberry Sambuca sauce on the other, a blob of fresh whipping cream on top – let’s just say that everything got real quiet for a while.

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My two willing test tasters N and K

I confess, I ate the same thing again the very next day.

B.

p.s.  I was going to try the Brandied Fruit on the ice cream but I just wasn’t brave enough.  It’s brown.  Not pretty.  Not appetizing looking.  Still smells ok but I think I might have to confess to epic failure on that one.  I won’t even show you pictures.  It’s too nasty.

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