18 August 2012

Cassata Gelato (Ice Cream Loaf Cake)


It took me longer to look for the proper name of this ice cream cake than preparing it.  In the town of my husband's relatives in Sicily (not in all parts), they call it il pezzo duro (the hard piece).  The first time I heard it, I was very amused.  Well, ok.  Literally, it IS a hard piece of loaf-shaped ice cream cake.   I asked another Sicilian from another province of the island and neither she knew about it. 


I thought it was the same as the Florentine zuccotto but they really don't exist in other forms other than half-sphere.  The components are the same though.  Ice cream, cake & liquor.  So I went back to pezzo duro.  There has to be another name.  My mother-in-law finally contributed to this gap.  They also call it cassata gelato.   This was derived from the cassata which is made of layers of sponge cake moistened with liqueur or fruit juices, ricotta, candied peel and chocolate or vanilla and covered with marzipan.  And that is a better name, isn't it?


This is one of the simplest desserts I have ever prepared that was taught to my by my mother-in-law.   My son, who is totally crazy with this ice cream cake begged me to make him one after he just came home from his Nonna's (grandmother) house where he ate one whole cassata gelato and even took home another one.   Even if I was taught this recipe years ago, I never made it because it was something that we look forward to in my mother-in-law's house.  It's her specialty and it's nice to have it only in her house.  It's my son's current food addiction, so for this week, I made cassata gelato number two. 


If you have 3 (or even just 2) ice cream flavors, store-bought PLAIN mini sponge cakes and a bottle of liquor or liqueur, then you are one step closer to a wonderful refreshing ice cream dessert.  It's so easy to do and you will be rewarded with a beautifully layered dessert.  It's good to just keep it in the freezer and take it out when you have guests coming at short notice.  That is something that will never happen in this household because I have a little Pac-Man around.

It's Friday.  I hope you all have a good weekend!


 

Cassata Gelato (Ice Cream Loaf Cake)

Ingredients:
For one plum cake mold (Serves 6)
  • 3 flavors of ice cream of about 400 g. each (I usually use hazelnut, chocolate & pistachios.)
  • store bought plain plum cake / sponge cake snacks (I use the ones done with yogurt.)
  • 1/2 cup Vermouth (or any other liquor or liqueur you have)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • candied peel (optional)
Directions:
  1. Take out the ice cream 10 - 15 minutes before you start working to soften them a bit.
  2. Cut a big piece of parchment paper that will serve as the lining of the plum cake mold.  It should be long enough for folding on top of the ice cream cake after filling up the mold.  Please refer to picture above.
  3. Crumple parchment paper with your hands, forming it into a ball.  Wet it under the faucet and squeeze out excess water.  Straighten it out again.
  4. Line plum cake mold with the parchment paper.  If it's too small, use two sheets, overlapping each other.
  5. Fill up bottom part with one ice cream flavor.  Flatten with a spoon or a spatula.  
  6. Mix Vermouth and water in a bowl.
  7. Wet sponge cakes by brushing the cake with the mixture.  Layer sponge cakes on the first layer of ice cream.
  8. Put the second flavor of ice cream.  Flatten.
  9. Put another layer of sponge cakes brushed with the mixture.
  10. Put the last flavor of ice cream.  Flatten.
  11. Pull both ends of the parchment paper and cover the top of the ice cream cake.  Flatten ice cream cake with both your palms to make it compact inside.  The more pressure you put, the more compact it will become.
  12. Freeze for at least 3 - 5 hours or until the ice cream cake hardens.  I leave it overnight.
  13. To serve, wet the outer part of the mold with warm water.  Wait until the parchment paper can slide out easily.
  14. Invert on a serving plate and peel off parchment paper.


18 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks beautiful and delicious! And so many flavor combinations! Can't wait to try this. Great photos, too. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Jessie! That's the wonderful part with this ice cream cake. There are no limits to the flavors that you put together. Thanks!

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  2. It looks so simple - the best kind of food. Delicious and moreish, I'm sure.

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  3. I love the layers, this looks so delicious! The ice cream flavors you chose sound perfect too :)

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    1. My freezer never runs out of those 3 flavors. Coffee is a favorite too but we avoid giving it to the kids.

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  4. I'm making this for my next dinner party and I'll have you and your mother-in-law to thank for it. This is not only beautiful but it is so simple, too. Love it, Rowena. I can understand why your son would beg you to make this. :)

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    1. It's such a simple and delicious dessert Jean. I think you will love it!

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  5. Impressive!!! Love this dessert! I bet every bite was just divine. Lovely photos!

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    1. This is one of my favorite desserts Lisa. And it's nice to change the flavors too.

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  6. Ice cream, cake and liquor? How can this be anything but amazing!!! Beautiful cake.

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    1. Oh yes Lizzy. It's one of my favorites in fact! Thanks!

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  7. I was about to scream that your delicious ice cream loaf cake is melting and I need to rescue!!!! :D Seriously if I was there while you were photo shooting I couldn't take it. This looks so delicious and I want to eat it with a big bite!

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    1. My worst nightmare is taking pictures of anything frozen Nami. LOL! I took these photos outside in the sweltering heat. I should have taken them indoors but I didn't like the lighting.

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  8. Beautiful ice cream cake Rowena, very creative way to put together a show stopping cake for a dinner party or a special family meal, thanks for sharing;-)

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  9. I think I would beg too...wow this looks amazing! Gorgeous layers!

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