Only recently, on a lovely Girl’s Night Out, did I discover the wonders of spumoni.
I’m baffled by the fact that having visited Italy AND having grown up in the gourmet food world, I had yet to try these beautiful layers of Italian ice cream. Yes, I’d heard the word spumoni before, but more or less dismissed the term in my incessant desire for savory treats over sweet.
More or less forgotten in the mere subtleties of every day life, I find it even more perplexing that I have come upon my reintroduction to the frozen dessert upon dining at a less than authentic (but still quite lovely) Italian chain restaurant in the foothills of Colorado.
In all honesty, the story does not simply end with a bite of dessert after a few glasses of red wine and some richly tomato-basil infused entrees. The so desired whipped ambrosia, Italian Spumoni, was no longer available at this fine dining establishment. Much to the chagrin of the forward looking, lovely ladies sitting by my side, we proceeded with miles upon miles of dark chocolate cake and a tad bit of mocha java ice cream instead.
I suppose it wasn’t the same ~ I wouldn’t know.
But I was determined to find out!
Thus, I rose very early the next morning, made my way to the market, filled my basket to the brim, and spent a few hours in the kitchen.
Spumoni swirls are quite lovely, I learned. And that dark chocolate cake we devoured the night before has got NOTHING on this little gem. Nothing.
Spumone (from spuma or “foam”), plural spumoni, is a molded Italianice cream made with layers of different colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts.
Typically, it is of three flavors, with a fruit/nut layer between them. The ice cream layers are often mixed with whipped cream. Cherry, pistachio, and either chocolate or vanilla are the typical flavors of the ice cream layers, and the fruit/nut layer often contains cherry bits—causing the traditional red/pink, green, and brown color combination.
A.K.A. Neapolitan Ice Cream.
Rather than simply “ice cream,” this creamy Italian delight can be described as smooth as silk and fluffy light. It is truly like nothing you’ve ever had before.
2 cups COLD organic heavy whipping cream
1 14 oz. can organic sweetened condensed milk
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbs. chocolate hazelnut butter
1 Tbs. organic cocoa powder
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup fresh bing cherries (or frozen), pitted and chopped
Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the COLD cream for about 3 minutes, until very stiff peaks form. Fold in the sweetened condensed milk and sea salt.
Divide the mixture among three bowls. In one bowl, fold in the chocolate hazelnut butter and cocoa powder. In the next, fold in the nuts and vanilla. Finally, in the third bowl, gently stir in the chopped cherries.
Freeze each bowl for 2-3 hours.
**For a more traditional layered treat, remove one “flavor” of frozen cream and spread evenly on the bottom of a loaf pan. Freeze again until extremely firm. About 10 minutes before removing this layer from the freezer, remove another bowled layer and allow to soften. Spread the softened layer over the very firm layer. Freeze again and repeat the softening and spreading process with the final layer. Freeze everything again for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving.
And, since the above steps seem to be eternally time consuming, why not improvise and swirl all three layers together into one. After all, the same result is reached, only with a slightly different visual effect.