Now's the time to rustle up a repertoire of ice cream toppers so that the kids can have fun concocting their favorite splits and sundaes.
And so that you, too, can have an elegant dessert "on ice"--a Peach Melba, for example. It's nothing more than a fresh peach half topped by a scoop of vanilla ice cream that's crowned by a blush of Melba Sauce that microwaves to perfection--in an instant--and can be made ahead of time.
Because microwaving is a moist method of cooking, all of the just-picked flavor of the berries used in the Melba Sauce is preserved. Indeed, it seems to be heightened through some feat of culinary alchemy.
Let the kids lend a hand in microwaving other culinary feats that make delicious ice cream toppers such as Hot Fudge Sauce.
2 cups pureed raspberries, strawberries or loganberries
1/3 cup sugar, about
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons framboise or Chambord liqueur or red currant jelly
Mix puree and 1/3 cup sugar in microwave-safe 6-cup measure. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 3 minutes.
Blend cornstarch with water. Whisk cornstarch mixture and lemon juice into puree and microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until sauce boils and thickens slightly.
Stir in framboise, cool, taste for sweetness and add more sugar, if needed. If too thick, thin with small amount of water. Makes 2 cups.
Note: Use as sauce for Peach Melba or ladle over plain ice cream.
Variation: For Apricot or Peach Sauce, prepare as directed substituting pureed apricots or peaches for berries and peach brandy for framboise.
HOT FUDGE SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon freeze-dried coffee crystals
2 (1-ounce) envelopes unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cake or ice cream
Mix sugar, milk, coffee crystals and salt in microwave-safe 6-cup measure. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH (100% power) 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring at half time, until bubbling.
Whisk in chocolate, butter and vanilla, beating until smooth. Serve warm or at room temperature over cake or ice cream. Makes about 1 2/3 cups sauce.