My family was not big on desserts. Even at the big annual feasts like Easter, Christmas, or New Year, dessert would usually be a small bowl of (home) tinned peaches with a scoop of ice-cream – or perhaps a trifle brought by one of the Anglo-Australian in-laws.
To my mind (or perhaps it’s to my sweet tooth), there are certain occasions that call for something more elaborate, more celebratory. It comes, no doubt, from the Anglo-Australian influence. This Easter (just two weeks ago), I decided to add something to the gnocchi and rabbit (rabbit recipe forthcoming) that have become a bit of a tradition in our home. I remembered, during my three months in Italy as a ten year old, that I became a little obsessed with individual serves of an Italian ice-cream cake called cassata that the local shop sold. Every few years my thoughts will return to cassata, and I’ll vaguely wonder where I might get one before being distracted by my life. This year, I decided to make one. The results were remarkably good, so I’m sharing the recipe.
Loaf tin (approx. 25cm x 7cm)
Bowls, spoons, spatula.
Plastic (cling) wrap
2L vanilla ice-cream
½ cup finely chopped pistachio nuts, almonds or both
½ cup finely chopped glacé fruit (cherries, apricots, pineapple, peaches etc)
100g Toblerone, chopped (you can use chocolate covered peanut brittle)
2 ½ tbsps cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp Grand Marnier or other liqueur
grated chocolate, preferably dark (for decoration)
Sure, you can make your own ice-cream if you want. I didn’t, however.
Work with one third of the ice-cream at a time, keeping the rest frozen. You may want to divide the ice-cream into 3 containers before you start (I didn’t, so my thirds were not exactly even).
To one third of the ice-cream, add the liqueur and glacé fruit. Mix thoroughly. Spoon this mixture into the tin and smooth out evenly. Place in freezer while working on next step. Make sure this layer is firmly set before preparing the next layer (it will take a little longer to set because of the liqueur).
To the second third of the ice-cream, add the chopped Toblerone, and sift ½ tbsp cocoa powder over the top. Mix thoroughly. Spoon mixture into tin and smooth evenly. Place back in freezer. Make sure this layer is firmly set before preparing the next layer.
To the final third of the ice-cream, add the chopped nuts and sift 2 tbsp cocoa power over top. Mix thoroughly (this layer should be uniformly darker than the previous one, then spoon into tin and smooth evenly.
Cover with cling wrap and freeze overnight.
Before serving, grate chocolate over top. Serve in slices.