Creamsicles, Re-​​imagined

by Gary Allen

Summer has come on with a vengeance this year, and for some reason, the summers we remember are always more glorious than the one we’re experiencing. Perhaps it’s just that we were children back then, when everything was magical (or so it seems, now). Perhaps it’s just that simple pleasures were more than enough for us, before layers of experience jaded our palates.

Whatever the reason, for simple perfection, few ready-​​made frozen desserts match the lowly Creamsicle. We recall magical childhood memories of chasing after the ice cream man’s truck, a quick exchange of a few sticky coins, followed by their crisp and citrusy-​​tart exteriors, that gradually surrendered their creamy vanilla hearts.

Why would I be so crass as to attempt to replace that Proustian delight with some kind of substitute? Because, as Paul Simon sang about today’s Creamsicles (OK, he was referring to something else entirely) “you know they’d never match my sweet little imagination.” Sad to say, we can’t go home again.

How pretentious is that? Allusions to Proust, Paul Simon and Thomas Wolfe in one short paragraph about ice cream on a stick!

Anyway —whether they just don’t make Creamsicles the way they used to, or our tastes have evolved to the point where mundane reality can’t keep up with our remembered expectations— here are two approaches to recreating the remembered experience, if not the actuality of the thing itself.

These are almost as easy as ripping the paper off a Creamsicle.

Tropical Creamsicle Sundae

Serves 1 – 4 (depending on ambient temperature and degree of self-​​control)

1 pint Coconut sorbet, slightly softened
1 pint Mango ice cream, slightly softened

Divide Coconut ice cream between four bowls, packing ice cream into an even layer. Place bowls in freezer to firm the ice cream.

Divide Mango ice cream between the four prepared bowls, packing mango ice cream in an even layer on top of the coconut ice cream. Place bowls in freezer to firm the ice cream. Garnish with a slice of orange and a mint leaf if you want to show off, or simply dig in.

Creamsicle Float

Serves 1 – 4 (same as above)

1 pint premium vanilla ice cream
1 bottle Sparkling Blood Orange soda*
canned real whipped cream

Place one four-​​ounce scoop of ice cream in each of four tall glasses.

Carefully pour soda to within an inch of the top. This is going to produce a lot of foam, so have a spoon handy to remove excess. Do NOT discard —this is your cook’s reward for making dessert for everyone else.
Top with whipped cream. You could use home-​​made whipped cream, but unless you pipe it on with a star-​​tipped pastry bag, you won’t get that soda-​​fountain look— and, besides, this is supposed to be EASY. We’re aiming for instant transport to the joy of our childhoods, not a fussy display of our kitchen skills.

* I use Taste of Inspirations brand, available in Hannaford and Food Lion grocery stores. You could use other orange sodas, but they wouldn’t produce the delicate rosy coloration and subtle tang that blood oranges contribute.

featured image copyright © Pamela Copeman

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