By Diane Rossen Worthington

Tribune Content Agency

Ice Cream Sundae Pie with Blueberry Sauce

Serves 6 to 8

For the pie:

1 pint vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

1 pint strawberry ice cream, slightly softened

1 (9-inch) purchased chocolate-cookie piecrust

For the blueberry compote:

6 (6-ounce) containers blueberries, plus extra for garnish

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the garnish:

Whipped cream

1 tablespoon patriotic-colored sprinkles

A handful of raspberries

1. Spoon ice cream into the premade pie crust, scooping the strawberry first and then the vanilla. Freeze until firm.

2. Just before serving, bring the blueberries, 2 tablespoons water, and brown sugar to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring gently, about 4 minutes; remove from heat.

3. Remove pie from the freezer; smooth whipped cream over the top, and decorate with sprinkles, raspberries and blueberries. Don’t forget some mini American flags!

4. Cut pie into wedges; place on plates. Spoon warm sauce over and serve immediately

Advance preparation: The pie may be prepared up to two weeks ahead, covered tightly, and frozen.

Banana Split
Ice Cream Torte

Serves 6 to 8

For the crust:

6 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds

40 chocolate wafers (One 9-ounce box)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

3 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 quart French vanilla ice cream, softened

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the garnish:

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the almonds for the garnish.

2. For the crust, process the remaining 1/4 cup of the almonds in a food processor for 10 seconds. Add the cookies and process until they resemble crumbs. Transfer the crumbled cookies and nuts to a medium mixing bowl and add the butter, mixing with your fingers until completely combined. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Pat the crumb mixture on the bottom and halfway up the sides. (Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly even.) Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or freeze for 1 hour.

3. For the filling, puree 2 bananas in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the ice cream and process until well blended. With a few pulses, blend in the chocolate and then the remaining sliced banana, being sure not to break it up too much.

4. Pour the filling into the crust in the pan in an even layer, smoothing it down. Cover it with wax paper and place it on a baking sheet to keep it level. Freeze for 1 hour.

5. When the ice cream is set but not completely frozen, garnish the top with toasted almonds and the grated chocolate in an even layer. Freeze the torte for at least 12 hours, and then cover it with plastic wrap.

6. Remove the torte from the freezer 15 minutes before serving, place it on a serving platter, and release the sides of the pan. Use a serrated knife to cut into slices.

Advance preparation: The torte may be prepared up to one month ahead, covered tightly, and frozen.

Desserts can be tricky for a Seriously Simple cook, especially as the temperature goes up. Making pie dough or baking a fancy cake isn’t what I have in mind in the heat of the season: Ice cream pie answers the call for a decadent, delicious and very easy to-put-together dessert.

Here are two of my favorite ice cream desserts, perfect for entertaining since they are need to be made ahead and are easy to assemble.

The first, my 5-minute icy confection says it all: five minutes for a wow-factor sweet. Since you are buying the crust, insert the premade crust into a pretty pie plate, either simple glass or porcelain for a pretty presentation. Softened ice cream is spooned into the crust and frozen. Then a simple decoration can be added, such as nuts, drizzled syrup, grated chocolate or patriotic sprinkles. A warm berry compote (made from blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) is spooned over the pie slice just before serving.

For a red, white and blue Fourth of July theme, I use strawberry and vanilla ice cream for the pie and serve with a blueberries-only sauce; garnished with raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream, and it’s a knockout summer dessert. I also look for little American Flags to decorate the tops of the pies.

In the spirit of another all-American treat, the second pie (a banana split ice cream torte) requires a little more work. But is fun to create your own!

A quick tip: Make sure the ice cream is soft enough to work with but not already melting; remove the ice cream from freezer for 20 minutes before working with it.

Either of these pies is easy to make and can involve children as well, as they can help decorate the finished frozen dessert. This is a great item to keep in your freezer. Just remember to remove the pie from the freezer 15 minutes before serving for easy slicing.