There’s no doubt about the retro appeal of maraschino cherries, whipped cream cans and that ersatz chocolate syrup in a squeeze bottle. But it’s funny to think they coexist in the same dessert galaxy with basil sorbets and pink peppercorn-tinged ice cream.
So we turned to ice cream experts to help us reinvent ye olde ice cream social, sans squeeze bottles and quasi-fruity syrups. The results will take you six ways to sundae, with fresh lemon-blueberry syrup, vanilla butterscotch, extra-bittersweet fudge and even bacon peanut brittle.
Ohio-based artisanal ice cream maker Jeni Britton Bauer’s book, “Jeni’s Ice Creams at Home,” just won a James Beard award. Her wildly popular Farmers Market Sundaes use lemon frozen yogurt and fresh berries, macerated with Champagne, port or Grand Marnier. Her Ohito Sundae, a play on the classic rum cocktail, draws its flavors from fresh mint leaf-infused ice cream, a white-rum praline sauce and a wedge of lime, so guests can squeeze the tart citrus over the entire affair, including the sprinkling of turbinado sugar crystals.
“I like things to be a contrast,” she says. “Something crunchy, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, a little bit of everything. What’s great about the artisanal ice cream world is you can start with something more unusual, or something really well made, but very simple.”