Posted by: Erica Retrochef | May 14, 2012

Tropicana Sundae

This week felt like an episode of Chopped. “In your dessert basket, you have: ketchup! mint-apple jelly! and, walnuts!”

It’s pretty fun to see the results when companies make up crazy recipes featuring their ingredients in bizarre ways. It’s even more fun when they manage to convince customers to do that work for them. In 1957, Heinz apparently ran a contest, and published the winning results in the pamphlet “57 Prize Winning Recipes From H.J. Heinz Co. $25,000 Cook With Ketchup Contest.” And some of those recipes were apparently desserts…

Tropicana Sundae

1/2 cup Heinz Mint-Flavored Apple Jelly
1/4 cup Heinz Tomato Ketchup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine jelly and ketchup in saucepan. Simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Add nuts. Serve warm or cold over vanilla ice cream. Makes about 2/3 cup sauce.


The hardest part of this was finding mint-flavored apple jelly. I looked in three grocery stores, two of which tend to have fairly high-end fancy jams, and didn’t find anything that was even close. (Most didn’t even have apple jelly.)

So, I fudged it. 1/2 cup of some apple jelly and some mint jelly. I worried that too much mint jelly would make this taste like mouthwash, so there’s more apple than mint here.

Then, I shot an amoeba and it started bleeding. Oh no, wait, that’s just ketchup in a pot with some mint and apple jellies.

(Things I never thought I’d type…)

I stirred this around for a few minutes, but the jelly blobs weren’t really melting like I expected. I tried squashing them with a spatula, but that just changed the problem from “a few large blobs” to “lots of small blobs.”

I ended up pureeing it with a stick blender…

After simmering for a while (almost ten minutes, actually) this had thickened up and looked like a respectable sauce.

Finally, I threw in the walnuts, stirred, and served over vanilla ice cream.

Well, what can I say. This was definitely weird. Between ketchup and two kinds of jelly, this was an incredibly sweet sauce. It tasted fairly fruity, but a strong ketchup flavor was the first thing to hit your tongue. (Buzz added extra mint jelly on top of his, and felt that improved things… slightly.) One kid hated it, the other thought he liked it but couldn’t finish. Surprisingly, I thought it was pretty good. But you need to like ketchup, apples, and walnuts, and you definitely should go light on the sauce. It needed plenty of ice cream to mellow out the syrupy topping.

Or, just don’t make this at all. The purpose of this recipe might just be for us to look at and think, “Wow, some of those recipe suggestions were really crazy.” I am baffled that this apparently won a recipe contest.

Charm and Poise scanned this recipe from a 1957 booklet of “Prize Winning Recipes.”



  1. I grew up around a family and their mom swore by straight ketchup on vanilla ice cream! It was a family thing, because the mom and one of mom’s sisters ate it also!

    And might add, YUCK!!

    That sauce looks like it would be good, if you,

    chopped the nuts REALLY fine,

    added a little more mint jelly,

    and used it as a dipping sauce or BBQ style sauce for chicken!

    But not on ice cream.

    • Yes, I’ve seen recipes for BBQ sauce using ketchup, other ingredients, and raspberry jelly. (A bottle of chili sauce and a bottle of grape jelly heated up for cocktail weinies to swim in!) Over ice creamm?? 0_o even nuts – or anything else – can fix this combo.

  2. Wow. You all are brave eaters… I mean, ice cream, yes. But… ? Wow.

    • My understanding is that it’s common to put ketchup on ice cream in Australia. Honestly, I don’t know how they can stand it. The nuts (obviously) and the jellies weren’t bad with the ice cream, but the ketchup was not good.

  3. First I want to say that Iove your blog and sometimes the recipes you make truly make me laugh. Here is one that I have on my blog that I just dont have the courage to try but I did think of you right away. If you could do minted ketchup on ice cream. Ham, bananas and cheese sauce may not make you as squimish as it did me!!!!

  4. Belatedly: commercial mint jelly is usually mint-flavored apple jelly. They just don’t call it that nowadays.

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