[Photograph: Lauren Weisenthal]

When I was a kid, grown-ups were fond of dangling make-your-own sundae parties in front of my classes, teams, and bunks as an incentivizing prize. No matter the call to rally—selling the most wrapping paper, winning the most games, washing the most cars, or scoring highest in cleaning inspection—boy, did it work. If there's one thing I learned from being a kid, it's that groups of youngsters will go to great lengths for the privilege of filling a bowl with the ice cream and heaping it with the toppings of their choice.

This week, I wanted to make an ice cream-based pie to bring out for the barbecues that will commence this coming long weekend. As I tried to come up with the flavors I wanted to incorporate, I kept getting stuck. Of course, everybody loves ice cream. But when it comes to toppings and flavors, we all have our own ideas about what works best. Inspired by those childhood parties, I decided that this recipe should be more fluid, allowing the baker to make his or her own specialty.

This pie is homemade where it counts. Rather than crushing packaged cookies for the crust, I created a recipe for homemade chocolate crumble crust, which gives you more control over the flavor (and ingredients) of the sundae's chocolaty base. Homemade salted caramel sauce definitely beats any jarred version. Purists may choose to use homemade ice cream, or opt for their favorite brand. The candy is decidedly store-bought, paying homage to the sundae parties and the overgrown kids who love them. I used Reese's peanut butter cups (my all-time favorite) but the candy you use is completely up to you. It's your sundae party, after all.

Get the Recipes

Ice Cream Sundae Pie »
Chocolate Cookie Crumb Crust »
Salty Caramel Sauce »

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