Jazz up summer with an ice cream sundae party

Summertime, or any time, is ice cream time. My father’s favourite treat was a banana split from the soft ice cream palace in town. Any sundae would do, but a banana split was nirvana.

I don’t often indulge at home but why shouldn’t I? The toppings are so easy to make and taste so much fresher than store bought. Ice cream sundae parties have evolved from the ice cream social of yesteryear. It is even a popular wedding choice.

For an ice cream sundae party, keep it simple. Set out two to three flavours of ice cream, three toppings and a few garnishes, such as chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips and fresh fruits. Everyone makes their own sundae.

You can make your own ice cream or buy a good quality vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Butterscotch ripple was my childhood favourite.

Basic vanilla ice cream

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 c. half and half cream 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Whisk yolks and sugar until lemon coloured. In a saucepan, scald the cream with the vanilla seeds and bean. Temper the egg yolks with this hot milk. Do this by adding a little at a time while whisking the egg yolks. Eventually, you will have added all the milk.
Cook this mixture in a double boiler until thickened.
Cool, strain, churn according to your machine’s directions.
Variations: To make chocolate ice cream, melt eight ounces (250 g) of chopped dark chocolate with the cream. To make coffee ice cream, add one tablespoon (15 mL) of instant coffee to the cream mixture.

Banana split

  • salted caramel, chocolate and strawberry ice cream topping (recipes follow)
  • 1 banana for each person
  • vanilla ice cream
  • whipping cream
  • chopped peanuts, hazelnuts or almonds or a mix of all. Maraschino cherries, to garnish

For each dessert, peel and slice a banana in half lengthwise. Place on a plate in a banana split dish.
Place three scoops of ice cream over the bananas. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle the three ice cream toppings, one over each scoop. Top with chopped nuts and cherries.

Salted caramel sauce

  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. water 75 mL
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream 150 mL
  • 1/4 c. butter 60 mL
  • pinch of sea salt

Add sugar and water to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium until sugar melts, water evaporates and the sugar caramelizes.
Heat until the sugar is very browned and caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Add cream. It will bubble up so be careful. Stir.
Place back over the heat, if necessary, so the sugar is all melted and the sauce is smooth. Add sea salt. Cool and jar. Refrigerate until needed. Bring back to room temperature before using. Will keep in the refrigerator for a month or more.

Chocolate sauce

  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips 250 mL
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream 175 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL

Heat the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan until hot but not boiling.
Add chocolate chips.
Remove from heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Add vanilla. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in refrigerator for up to one month. Warm before serving.

Strawberry ice cream sauce

  • 6 c. fresh or frozen strawberries 1.5 L
  • 2 c. sugar 500 mL
  • 1 c. corn syrup 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest 15 mL

Add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and berries are soft. Cool before serving. Refrigerate until used. Will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.


These mini cream puffs are a tasty and crispy way to serve ice cream. Make them big or make them small. Cream puffs are made from a classic choux pastry or pate au choux.

Pate au choux

  • 1/2 c. water 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. whole milk 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. flour 250 mL
  • 4 eggs

Add water, milk and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Transfer dough to a bowl and let cool for five minutes.
Add one egg at a time and beat well with wooden spoon after each until the dough is smooth.
Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking pan. Leave about two inches (5 cm) between each to allow for rising. Lightly smooth down peaks with a finger dipped in cool water.
Heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Place profiteroles on the bottom shelf and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F (180 C) and rotate pan and continue to cook until golden brown and very firm to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
Turn off the oven. Poke the bottom of each profiterole with a skewer and turn upside down on the baking sheet. Let dry in the oven with door ajar for 10 minutes.
Remove to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Use when cool or they can be frozen up to three months. Makes 12 to 14 large profiteroles or 18 to 20 small. Adapted from The Joy of Cooking.


In English the Italian word affogato means drowned. Ice cream or gelato is drowned with a shot of hot espresso. A shot of amaretto or hazelnut liquor can also be added.

  • vanilla, chocolate or coffee ice cream or gelato
  • espresso coffee or strong brewed coffee
  • shaved dark chocolate
  • chopped hazelnuts

Place two small scoops of ice cream in a coffee cup then pour in a shot of espresso or three tablespoons (45 mL) strong brewed coffee. Top with shaved dark chocolate and chopped hazelnuts.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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