Is Mother Nature a genius or what? Just as berries and summer fruits are at their juiciest, she brings on the hottest days of the year--in other words, ice cream season. Are you the hot fudge sundae type? It's the season to reconsider. Peaches, plums and loads of berries are ripe for making into all sorts of ice cream sundaes, either as fresh fruit sauces or mixed with ice cream and drenched with sticky sundae sauces.

In warm weather, the less cooking the better, and these sundaes follow that plan perfectly. There is no need to turn on the heat except to make a quick cooked sauce or fruit crisp topping.

Fruits and their sauces lend themselves to many combinations. Peaches are probably the most accommodating fruit in the bunch, and except for chocolate ice cream, they taste good with almost any flavor. Any berry pairs well with peaches, from the classic peach melba combination of peach and raspberry to other summer berries such as blueberries, blackberries or strawberries. The various summer berries are best used with vanilla or fruit-flavored ice cream or heaped on top of a bowl of different berry-flavored ice creams or sorbets.

Shallow white or glass bowls, deep soda fountain sundae glasses or wine goblets make attractive sundae serving dishes. Clear glass or white containers show off bright fruit colors while solid color glass or ceramic dishes can also make a stunning presentation. A dark blue dish filled with golden peaches or red berries is a good example of how a dish can accent the fruit's color.

With so many choices of fruits and ice cream, it's easy to pick a summer's worth of sundaes.

Minted Mango and Blackberry Sundaes

(4 servings)

Golden mangoes and dark blackberries make a gorgeous topping for this sundae. The mint flavor of the mango mixture intensifies if left overnight in the refrigerator.

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 pint pineapple sorbet 1/2 cup blackberries 1/2 cup cold heavy (whipping) cream whipped to soft peaks with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Mint leaves for garnish

In a small bowl, stir together the mango, mint leaves and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

To assemble: Have ready 4 individual shallow bowls. Place 1 scoop of ice cream and 1 scoop of sorbet in each bowl. Spoon the mango mixture over the ice cream and sorbet and top with the blackberries. Spoon a dollop of the whipped-cream mixture alongside the ice cream and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Per serving: 555 calories, 6 gm protein, 68 gm carbohydrates, 30 gm fat, 161 mg cholesterol, 18 gm saturated fat, 98 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Hot Butterscotch Peach Sundaes

(8 servings)

This decadent sundae pairs ice cream with peaches, hot butterscotch sauce and toasted pecans.

For the sauce:

6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

3 pints vanilla or peach ice cream

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, lightly toasted and cooled

Have ready 8 individual shallow bowls.

For the sauce: In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and corn syrup, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and vanilla. Be careful, the mixture may bubble up.

Stir the sliced peaches into the butterscotch sauce and set aside.

To assemble: Place 2 scoops of ice cream in each bowl. Spoon the butterscotch-peach sauce over the ice cream and sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Per serving: 475 calories, 3 gm protein, 57 gm carbohydrates, 28 gm fat, 79 mg cholesterol, 15 gm saturated fat, 140 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

Raspberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Sundaes

(6 servings)

Colorful and sophisticated yet easy to make--that's how I describe this combination of pistachio ice cream, red raspberries and a crisp white-chocolate coating.

6 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 pints pistachio ice cream

2 cups raspberries

Have ready 6 shallow bowls.

In a heatproof container placed over but not touching a saucepan of barely simmering water, heat the white chocolate and vegetable oil, stirring constantly, until the white chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

To assemble: Place 2 scoops of pistachio ice cream in each bowl, sprinkle with the raspberries and drizzle the warm white-chocolate sauce on top.

Per serving: 419 calories, 6 gm protein, 38 gm carbohydrates, 26 gm fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 13 gm saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 4 gm dietary fiber

Cherry Fudge Sundaes

(6 servings)

Most fruit used in sundaes is best combined with other fruit rather than chocolate, but sweet bing cherries are an exception. The fudge-coated cherries remind me of chocolate-covered cherry candies.

1 cup bing cherries, pitted and quartered (about 3/4 to 1 pound), plus 6 whole bing cherries with stems, for garnish

3 tablespoons Kirsch or cherry liqueur

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

9 ounces (1 1/2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 pints cherry vanilla or cherry ice cream

Have ready 6 tall sundae glasses.

In a small bowl, stir together the quartered cherries and Kirsch. Macerate by letting the cherries soak in the Kirsch for 30 minutes.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the cream and butter and cook until the butter melts. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Allow the chips to soften, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and stir until the sauce is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted.

To assemble: Place 1 scoop of ice cream in each sundae glass. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cherry mixture over each scoop of ice cream and then spoon the fudge sauce over the cherries. Top with another scoop of ice cream and repeat with the remaining cherries and fudge sauce. Top with a stemmed cherry.

Per serving: 677 calories, 7 gm protein, 68 gm carbohydrates, 46 gm fat, 138 mg cholesterol, 27 gm saturated fat, 86 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Blueberry Crisp Sundaes

(8 servings)

Hot blueberry crisp serves as an original, crunchy and juicy sundae topping for ice cream. Other fruits, such as raspberries and peaches, may be substituted for the blueberries.

Butter for the pan

5 cups blueberries mixed with 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 pints vanilla, raspberry or blueberry ice cream or a combination of ice cream flavors

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter.

Pour the blueberry-sugar mixture into the prepared baking dish. With an electric mixer on low speed, blend together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter, increase the speed to medium and mix until fine crumbs form, about 1 minute. Spoon the crumb mixture evenly over the blueberries. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the blueberries are tender and just beginning to bubble.

For each serving, place 2 scoops of ice cream in a bowl and spoon the warm blueberry crisp over the ice cream.

Per serving: 661 calories, 9 gm protein, 68 gm carbohydrates, 40 gm fat, 213 mg cholesterol, 24 gm saturated fat, 141 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Strawberry Marshmallow Sundaes

(4 servings)

Mini-marshmallows melted with half-and-half make a quick marshmallow sauce to serve with strawberries and strawberry ice cream.

3 cups miniature marshmallows

3 tablespoons half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 pints strawberry ice cream

2 cups strawberries, cleaned, sliced and mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar

Have ready 4 individual shallow bowls.

In a heatproof container placed over but not touching a saucepan of barely simmering water, stir together the marshmallows and half-and-half. Cook until the marshmallows melt and the mixture is smooth. Remove from over the water and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Set aside.

To assemble: Place 2 scoops of ice cream in each bowl. Spoon the strawberries over the ice cream and pour the marshmallow sauce over the strawberries.

Per serving: 716 calories, 10 gm protein, 92 gm carbohydrates, 34 gm fat, 197 mg cholesterol, 21 gm saturated fat, 207 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

Elinor Klivans's latest book is "125 Cookies to Bake, Nibble and Savor" (Broadway Books, $25).

CAPTION: MINTED MANGO AND BLACKBERRY SUNDAE: The mint flavor intensifies if allowed to sit overnight.