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Dessert ala mode - How do you like it?

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Dessert: apple pie only? what about chocolate cake, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie?

Temperature: room temperature, slightly warm, piping hot in a puddle of ice cream?

Ice cream: vanilla only or some alternative?

There was much debate about this topic at work this morning and I thought I'd get some Chow favorites.

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  1. Personally I don't care for ice cream as topping for my dessert regardless of the type of dessert.

    Alas but I am alone on this in my household so for Thanksgiving I will be serving ginger ice cream with the (warm) pumpkin pie and vanilla with the (warm) apple tart.

    My son is of the mindset that it should be vanilla on top of a dessert regardless of the dessert but he will happily add almost any flavor if given the opportunity. He also likes ice cream on French toast (instead of syrup). Heck, he would probably eat ice cream on his scrambled eggs.

    My husband requires ice cream for most any pie-preferably vanilla or ginger. He likes dulce de leche and other caramel type ice cream for brownies and the other chocolate desserts. For cakes (birthday and the like) the ice cream is on the side, not on top.

    1. I love vanilla ice cream with fruit pies and some chocolate desserts, but that's about it. I would never put a Ben and Jerry's style ice cream full of nuts/cookies/candy/etc. on top of anything. Apple pie I like warm with ice cream (or cheddar cheese), while I prefer cherry and berry pies room temp with ice cream. For chocolate desserts it depends entirely on the dessert (lava cake warm, flourless torte cold, etc.).

      I enjoy interesting pairings of ice cream with a cake or other dessert that you get at high-end restaurants, but I probably wouldn't do it myself at home.

      1. For the most part, I like my ice cream and other desserts separate.

        I find very few instances where the combination actually makes both better -- a rare instance of where the parts are greater than the whole.

        When I have really kick ass ice cream, I don't want it fucked up with another dessert. Same with a really good pie (for example). If someone made me an awesome apple pie, I don't want no stinking ice cream muddling up the flavors.

        It's like if I have a bottle of Jose Cuervo 250 Aniversario, I want to enjoy on its own. Ain't no way I'm making a Long Island Ice Tea with it. No fucking way.

        Now, if I have two subpar or mediocre desserts -- a carton of Carnation Vanilla Ice Cream and a Marie Calendar's Apple Pie (for example) -- hell yeah, a la mode me till the cows come home.

        1. A warm brownie with chocolate chip mint ice cream. And maybe some hot fudge for good measure. I like the ice cream to get melty pretty quick in that situation.

          On fruit pies and the like, I've always preferred whipped cream if anything. Ice cream just never seemed quite right.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kontxesi

            I agree. For a brownie, I like it warm and the ice cream to melt a good bit. I love ice cream on pie as well, but as I like my pie warm to hot the ice cream melts too quickly and the puddle and soggy result drives me crazy. I guess it works better with the brownie as there is no crust element...

          2. Whatever the dessert is, it should be room temperature, not warm. Actually, though, I prefer whipped cream in these scenarii.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jay F

              Yup, most of my family prefers whipped cream on pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie