Every day is sundae

Taste the tropics in this piña colada-inspired dessert.

click to enlarge GROWN-UP SUNDAE: Pineapple and rum take this ordinary dessert to the next level. - KATIE MACHOL
GROWN-UP SUNDAE: Pineapple and rum take this ordinary dessert to the next level.

With warm, sweltering weather on our doorstep, I get a hankering for cool desserts like ice cream sundaes. My current muse for a sweet sundae recipe is the tropical piña colada drink, from which I borrowed the flavors of pineapple, coconut and rum.

In my opinion, there’s definitely a science to building the perfect sundae. It should have these four basic elements: ice cream, sauce, crunchy stuff, and something extra.

Vanilla was my go-to ice cream. Next came the sauce: I incorporated the piña colada's rum flavor into a quick and easy-to-make caramel topping.

For the something extra, I chose to use fruit — my fruit of choice being pineapple — and toasted coconut.

Fresh pineapple is wonderful by itself, but when roasted it becomes even more sweet and ambrosial. Simply tossing pineapple in brown sugar will caramelize the exterior, turning it a golden-brown color and taking the flavor to heavenly heights.

p>Toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes add a final pop of flavor and tie the whole dish together to achieve the piña colada essence.

There are no crunchy bits in a piña colada, but a sundae simply must have something crunchy on top. I decided to use toasted pistachios for some crunch and color, but cashews or macadamia nuts would also play well with the other flavors in this dessert.

Dairy-free/vegan substitutions are listed for those with special diets so that they too can enjoy this treat.

Roasted Pineapple and Coconut Sundae with Caramel Rum Sauce

Makes two sundaes

Roasted Pineapple Ingredients

2 cups pineapple, cut into chunks or diced into large pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar


Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Toss pineapple with brown sugar, then place it on a baking sheet tray lined with aluminum foil.

Place tray in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Turn pieces over then cook for another 5 minutes or until tender and browned. Be careful when opening the oven and have a fan or vent on as the some of the sugar sticking to the foil may be burned and smoking a bit (thus setting off your fire alarm).

Quick Caramel-Rum Sauce Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (substitute vegan butter or coconut oil)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup heavy cream (substitute coconut milk creamer or canned coconut milk)


Melt the butter in a small sauce or sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar and rum and cook, whisking until the sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth and bubbling. Lower the heat a little, whisk in the heavy cream and cook until heated through and slightly thickened. Let cool for a few minutes before pouring over ice cream.

Ingredients to serve

Vanilla ice cream, as needed (or substitute vanilla coconut or almond milk ice cream)
1/4 cup toasted unsweetened coconut chips or flakes
1/2 cup toasted pistachios, chopped


Assembly: Scoop ice cream into dishes and top with warm caramel rum sauce, roasted pineapple, coconut, and pistachios. Then grab a spoon and dig in.

Visit CulinaryPirate.com for more from Katie Machol.