Top It OffFor years each area of the country has been topping cakes and ice creams with fruity flavor. When making these toppers at home, always choose fruits at their peak ripeness. This is when they are naturally sweet, so it keeps the added calories and sugars to a minimum.
A dollop of Fresh Blueberry Sauce is just the ticket in the Northeast.
Combine 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup blueberries, 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg to pan; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 4 minutes or until berries pop, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
SERVES 12 (serving size: 3 tablespoons)
CALORIES 59; FAT 0g (sat 0g); SODIUM 2mg
East: Apple & Brandy SauceMelt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2cups sliced peeled apple; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons brandy, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon ginger; cook over medium-low heat 2 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally.
SERVES 6 (serving size: 1/4 cup)
CALORIES 43; FAT 2g (sat 1.2g); SODIUM 17mg
Southeast: Orange-Strawberry SaucePeel and section 4 navel oranges (about 2 pounds) over a bowl, and squeeze membranes to extract juice. Set sections aside, and reserve 1/4 cup juice. Discard membranes. Chop orange sections. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a 1-quart glass measure. Stir in reserved orange juice, 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and stir with a whisk until well blended. Stir in chopped oranges. Microwave mixture at HIGH 2 minutes and 45 seconds or until thick, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups sliced strawberries, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.
SERVES 8 (serving size: 1/2 cup)
CALORIES 56; FAT 0g (sat 0g); SODIUM 1mg
South: Peach & Brown Sugar SauceMelt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 large pitted and sliced peaches to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to pan; cook 1 minute or until sugar melts, stirring occasionally.
SERVES 8 (serving size: 1/2 cup)
CALORIES 70; FAT 3g (sat 1.8g); SODIUM 26mg
Midwest: Dark Cherry Merlot SauceCombine 2 cups pitted dark sweet cherries, 1 cup merlot, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Lightly crush about half of cherries with a potato masher. Reduce heat, and cook until reduced to about 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes.
SERVES 8 (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
CALORIES 33; FAT 0g (sat 0g); SODIUM 38mg
Southwest: Chilled Pineapple SaucePlace 3 cups coarsely chopped pineapple, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Cover and chill.
SERVES 14 (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
CALORIES 24; FAT 0g (sat 0g); SODIUM 1mg
West: Marsala Poached FigsCombine 1/2 cup marsala, 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, 3 black peppercorns, and 1 tablespoon honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 7 minutes or until syrupy. Add 6 halved fresh Black Mission figs (about 8.5 ounces); cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
SERVES 6 (serving size: 2 fig halves and 2 teaspoons sauce)
CALORIES 72; FAT 0g (sat 0g); SODIUM 2mg
Northwest: Warm Berry SauceCombine 2/3 cup raspberries, 2/3 cup blackberries, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter.
SERVES 10 (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
CALORIES 31; FAT 1.3g (sat 0.8g); SODIUM 10mg
Regional Favorites: Fruit Toppings
Dress up a bowl of ice cream or slice of pound cake instantly with one of these favorites from across the country.