Monday, September 29, 2008

Crushed Blackberry Sundae with Toasted Pecans, HomeMade Caramel Sauce, and Whipped Cream

Thinking back, I do not recall ever making my own caramel sauce. I picked the last of our blackberries for this season and wanted to make something special but light. Looking through recipes and ideas, an ice cream sundae with a blackberry sauce sounded really tasty. Bobby Flay did this Blackberry Sundae with HomeMade Caramel Sauce that really sounded unforgettable. In fact, I read this recipe several days ago, along with many others, and this recipe is the only one that I kept thinking about, mainly because of the homemade caramel sauce. A vanilla bean is used in the caramel and the sauce itself sounded easy to make. No crucial timing, no worrying about overcooking, nothing but simplicity.

Today, I finally had the time to give the recipe a try. Besides, I was worried about losing my blackberries since they have been in the refrigerator for 3 days. I also looked for any chance to use my vanilla bean flavored sugar. I sprinkled this sugar on the berries with the Creme de Casis and I sprinkled the sugar on the whipped cream. I absolutely love vanilla bean flavored anything. I know so many other cooks are looking for the brilliant flavor combinations along with color but I really think that the vanilla beans gets overlooked at times. Whats wrong with loving this simple flavor?

The recipe? Simple, easy, and can definitely be used as a showstopping dessert for dinner guests. The flavor really pops with toasted pecans chopped into large pieces, homemade vanilla bean flavored caramel sauce, fresh blackberries, and homemade whipped cream. I believe that frozen blackberries, dethawed, would work just as well.

Crushed Blackberry Sundae with Toasted Pecans, Homemade Caramel Sauces, and Whipped Cream

1 cup pecans
1 quart premium vanilla bean ice cream
Caramel Sauce, recipe follows
Crushed Blackberries, recipe follows
Freshly whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8to 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before coarsely chopping.

Place a scoop of ice cream in a parfait glass and top with caramel sauce, crushed blackberries, and pecans.
Repeat 2 more times and then top with a large dollop of whipped cream.

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
Pinch salt

Place the heavy cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the cream from the heat and let sit while making the caramel.

Whisk together the sugar and water in a medium non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Cook until dark golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately add the cream slowly,stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Return to the heat and cook until the mixture becomes smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.

Crushed Blackberries:
2 pints blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cassis liqueur

Combine the blackberries, sugar, and cassis in a medium bowl and stir well. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, use a fork to crush the blackberries.

These sundaes are so worth making again! Delicious =)

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