The topping for this sundae has all the rich, buttery flavor of pecan pralines—without the time or trouble involved in candymaking.
Basically, this recipe makes a mini-batch of pecan candy by superheating a small amount of butter and brown sugar in a large pan, cooking the nuts in it, then flavoring it with a little rum. Serve it over vanilla ice cream to provide the last missing flavor of traditional pralines: the heavy cream.
You can whip this together in maybe 15 minutes for an impromptu treat for unexpected guests.
The nuts caramelize in a sticky-sweet, buttery sauce.
When the hot sauce hits the cold ice cream, the sugar stiffens up almost instantly. The contrast of flavors, textures, and temperatures makes this sundae an absolutely delightful way to end an evening—or start one.
I like to do this with pecans and serve with espresso or strong tea. It would be great with other nut/liquor combinations, too. Walnuts and whiskey would be really good. Or almonds and amaretto.
If you’re one of those folks (like The Angry Chef) who likes the contrast of good sea salt with sweets, garnish with a little fleur de sel.
Hot Buttered Rum Pecan Ice Cream Sundae
1 Tbls. butter
2 Tbls. brown sugar
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 Tbls. dark rum
vanilla ice cream
Makes enough for 1 big sundae or 2 smaller ones.
Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
Toss in the brown sugar.
Stir to combine well. Break up any lumps of brown sugar with the back of your spoon.
Let the sugar/butter mixture cook for a minute or two over medium heat, stirring frequently. It should start to bubble and smell really good. If it starts to burn or smoke, turn the heat down.
Add the nuts to the pan.
Stir to coat the pecans well. Cook for a minute or two more on medium heat, stirring constantly.
If you have a gas stove, turn the heat off completely (so that if you spill the rum, it doesn’t accidentally ignite and flare up).
Add the rum.
It should immediately start to boil and give off a big poof of steam, so step back and watch your fingers (and long hair, etc.).
Stir the pan immediately to incorporate the rum into the sauce and to reduce it a little.
Turn the heat back on low. Cook for maybe another minute, stirring constantly. The sauce is done when it’s nice and thick and the nuts are well coated. It should look about like this:
Turn the heat off and leave the pan on the stove to stay warm. Scoop out the ice cream.
Spoon the topping over the ice cream.
Serve immediately and enjoy!