Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spumoni Sundaes with Hot Fudge and Amaretto Cherry Sauce

Sundaes always make me think of long summer days growing up in the midwest.  At the peak of summer in Ohio, the sun sometimes didn't dip below the horizon until almost 9:30pm, which meant lots of daylight hours to laugh and play, especially after school was out for the summer.  Those days, it was pretty safe to roam around the neighborhood, and I spent my time playing kickball in the street with the boys or riding bikes with my girlfriends.  My mom always told me I had to be home by the time the streetlights came on, and I would grudgingly drag my feet back home to end the day.  

Other evenings, my mom would load us up in the minivan (oh yeah, we did have two minivans in my lifetime) and we would head to the ice cream shop for cones or sundaes.  Hands-down, my favorite places to go were Honey Hut Ice Cream and East Coast Custard, and if you grew up in Cleveland, I really really hope you have been to one or both places.  (It is no coincidence that the Yelp review for Honey Hut has 5 stars for reviews.)  

Ghiradelli chocolate for Espresso Hot Fudge Sauce. (Can you read upside down?)

When my family would go for ice cream, sometimes I would be in the mood for just a cone (with two scoops of course), but often I would want a sundae.  Thinking back, might have just wanted the sundae for the maraschino cherry on the top, but the hot fudge sauce on the frozen ice cream didn't hurt either.  Actually, I think I gravitated towards the sundae because aside from a banana split, it was the most indulgent thing on the menu.  Even as a child I was a smart girl. 

Now I don't know if it was these childhood memories or just the appeal of chocolate, cherries, and ice cream, but when I saw this Spumoni Sundae with Hot Fudge and Cherry Sauce in Bon Appetit last summer, I swooned.  

Plus, I can rarely turn away chocolate.    

I cannot resist this. 

Espresso hot fudge sauce?  Warm amaretto cherry sauce?  Pistachio and vanilla ice cream?  Check, check, and check.  Yes, I would like them all please.  And if you can serve them to me in a pretty sundae glass that would be great.  I can even say please and thank you if you want.  Pretty please...? 

This warm amaretto cherry sauce is to die for.

I actually feel in love as much with this recipe as I did with the original presentation - specifically the gorgeous footed glasses that the sundae was served in.  I wasn't the only one, because several readers asked where the glasses could be found, and eventually we tracked them down at Crate and Barrel.     

Adore these footed glasses from Crate and Barrel for sundaes or cocktails.

This sundae is also extremely simple to put together, which makes it perfect for summer entertaining, or just an indulgent dessert for one.  

The sundae is layered, starting with Espresso Hot Fudge Sauce on the bottom... 

...Followed by several scoops of pure vanilla ice cream.... 

...And then you can sort of go crazy with some Amaretto Cherry Sauce, pistachio ice cream, more Hot Fudge Sauce and Cherry Sauce, and then finally top it off with extra chopped pistachios.

This is heaven to me. 

And I have a little confession to make.  I ate these sundaes for dinner.  Both of them.  By myself.  And really, this isn't a genuine confession, because I am definitely not sorry.  I was actually licking my lips with glee with each spoonful, so I suppose that says a lot.  I don't regret a single bite.  

Maybe eating sundaes for dinner isn't a very adult-like thing to do, but I would argue that it is genius.  I was a smart little girl when I ordered sundaes as a child, and I grew up to be an even smarter woman who knows that having a sundae at any time of the day is always a wise decision.      

You might also like: Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart, or  Honey Sage Ice Cream (one of my favorites!)
One year ago: Shredded Red Cabbage Salad with Pistachios (perfect summer picnic salad)

Spumoni Sundaes with Hot Fudge and Amaretto Cherry Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2010

This dessert is a throwback to traditional Italian spumoni ice cream, which typically includes pistachio and chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, and either cherry pieces or cherry ice cream.  Here, the recipe just uses vanilla and pistachio ice cream, the chocolate comes in form of rich, Espresso Hot Fudge Sauce, and the cherries are in Amaretto Cherry Sauce.  The original recipe included whipped cream as well, but I decided I didn't need it and this sundae is fantastic enough without it.  If you are not a fan of pistachios, feel free to substitute another type of ice cream.  Oh and the cherry sauce is to die for.

1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint pistachio ice cream
Chopped pistachios
Espresso hot fudge sauce (recipe below)
Amaretto cherry sauce (recipe below)

Espresso Hot Fudge Sauce:
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso (I used 1 packet Starbucks Via)
3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, not less than 60% cacao, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Amaretto Cherry Sauce:
1/3 cup amaretto
1/3 heaping cup of cherry preserves with whole cherries, or 1/4 cup preserves without whole berries
*1/4 cup chopped cherries (optional if not using preserves with whole cherries)

Start out by making the fudge sauce and cherry sauce, since these will need to cool just a bit before adding to the sundaes.

To make hot fudge sauce, add whipping cream, honey, and instant espresso to a small saucepan, and heat until just simmering (not boiling).  Remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate and butter until smooth. Set aside to cool (or refrigerate overnight). 

To make cherry sauce, add amaretto and cherry preserves to a small saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 4-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and is reduced to a little more than 1/3 cup.  Set aside to cool (or refrigerate overnight).  *(If your preserves did not have whole cherries in them, you can add the chopped cherries to the sauce.  Soak them for 2-3 hours before serving.) 

To assemble the sundaes, re-warm hot fudge sauce and cherry sauce in the microwave.  In each bowl, layer the ingredients starting with hot fudge at the bottom, followed by vanilla ice cream, cherry sauce, pistachio ice cream, and topping the sundae with more hot fudge and chopped pistachios.  Or, just throw it all in a bowl any which way you like.  Eat immediately.


  1. Oh my...this looks so, so good! I love the pistachio/cherry combination. Sounds like you have some lovely memories of your summers growing up too!

  2. I saw this and passed out cold. I know I work hard on my desserts - cakes, pastry, etc., but my favorite all time treat is ice cream. I love making pistachio ice cream but I've never put cherry sauce or espresso chocolate on it. Talk about raising it up a notch. I want this.

    I have pistachios, chocolate and cream.. the rest can't be too difficult to source. :)

  3. At the moment, the sun dips below the horizon at about 10h30pm...

    Those sundaes look so delicious! A great summer treat.



  4. That looks SO yummy! That's a perfect summer ..err dinner?! :D I would have that for any meal really...

    btw..How awesome is Crate & Barrel?? Love the store..I just bought a few colorful summery things for the kitchen from there y'day.

  5. This sounds totally irresistible! Even if it is the middle of winter here in Sydney!

  6. Love spumoni! This is an awesome semi-homemade recipe! YUM!

  7. MMMmmm. We are going back to Missouri soon. They have a perennial favorite there. Frozen Custard. It's not ice cream; it's not custard; but, something deliciously in between. I hear you about going for the cherry! I used to do that with ordering the drink "Shirley Temple". It was all about those jarred cherries!!

  8. There you are, tempting me again with a beautiful cherry recipe. Love it! I would never resist that either. ;)

  9. These are so beautiful and I can not blame you one bit for making them your dinner!

  10. God bless the brilliant person who came up with the idea of the spumoni sundae. A miraculous innovation for our time.

  11. I may not be willing to drive up to Del Mar for frozen yogurt, but I might make a trip for these!

  12. I drank my cherry pie milkshakes for dinner last week. No shame :)

    I'm so impressed with how well you photograph frozen desserts :)

  13. Spumoni is my father's favorite dessert, and definitely has a soft-spot in my heart! These looks gorgeous and SO wonderfully delicious.

  14. Holy moly! I would most definitely have had those for dinner, too.

  15. I wonder how you kept that from melting before you got your shot! Great Pictures by the way.

  16. This is serious indulgence Amanda! I think that eating these sundaes for dinner was indeed a very wise decision. After all, it would have been worse had you had them AFTER dinner. I would have done the same. Oh and thanks for mentioning where you got the glasses because as soon as I saw them I also thought "wow I want them" :)

  17. Like I said on facebook you such a temptress! Oh man this makes my mouth water like nothing else. Sundae would still be on my list of favorite desserts because you can do things like this!

  18. You had me at amaretto, in fact, you had me at every single ingredient in this recipe. I love cherries over ice cream, they're one of the most perfect toppings.

  19. Beautiful photos and flavors! Love cherries and the blue background against them.

  20. This looks amazing! It truly is grown up and gourmet!

  21. These are gorgeous and so, so decadent-looking. You and I are on the same page with our posts today - they're both all about ice cream, cherries, and chocolate. And I would happily devour both for dinner! :)

  22. Are you kidding me?! I'd have no qualms about eating those for dinner either!

  23. Oh my. Your photos are perfect as usual. And you have like 10 of you are superwoman...and smart...and beautiful. Can you stop please? :P love the cherry continuation. Im still about to make my first cherry thingy...

  24. Wow! These sundaes look amazing. I just love your photos - I wish I could buzz each one.

  25. Oh my goodness, I need this right now! It all looks so delicious Amanda!

  26. Wow, I would have come to help you finish these! I'd love to do a similar flavor profile in a trifle, this is so delicious!!

  27. gorgeous! i would eat them for dinner too (and lunch and breakfast)!

  28. I would say it was a spot on choice for dinner.

  29. This looks incredible!!! Can I come over for dessert??

  30. Just wow! Beautiful and gorgeous, and delicious!! I can easily eat those two bowls of sandaes. Fabulous job on food styling and photos!

  31. Amanda, these sundaes are so pretty! My kids would go crazy for that chocolate sauce :)

  32. Serious yum! Why wasn't I there for this??? ;)

  33. I love your sweet, delicious memories of summertime drives for ice cream. I too have many cherished memories. I always got the coffee soft serve dipped in jimmies, unless we went to Friendly's, which always meant a Reese's Pieces sundae. Your sundae is gorgeous! Much more elegant than anything I ever remember having!

  34. Man, this looks good. I haven't had ice cream in... hmm, a few weeks? Gotta change that asap. Cherries + fudge + nuts would help too. :)
    PS - seriously, your photos are one of my favorites!! I want food styling tutoring :)

  35. Looks to die for! Can you freeze these sauces for later?

  36. Rebecca: I don't know if I would recommend freezing these sauces, but they probably wont last long enough for freezing anyway. ;)

    Elina: Thanks for the compliments on my photos! I have been working hard on improving - I love photography!

    Epicurian Mom: Yes please come over for dessert!

    Jill: Ohh, sorry friend, these were weeknight dinner sundaes. We can make them again though! <3

  37. The sauce sounds wonderful over just about any ice cream

  38. finally getting a chance to make these tonight for a potluck. it's 110 here by the way.

  39. wow, I'll have two of those as well!

  40. Fresh Cherry season is short and over in the US so I think this could easily be made with canned dark sweet cherries available in most grocery stores. I think I will try it today. The amaretto cherry combo sound divine!!

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