Ice Cream Torte: Cassata Gelato


Cassata Gelato is a frozen dessert made with frozen custard (gelato ice cream) and whipped cream.  Real Cassata Gelato is a rare treat.  It requires making two to three different flavors of ice cream and is really labor intensive, unless you have a decent electric ice cream maker.  This simple version is made using store-bought ice cream.  I used natural pistachio ice cream for these photos but green pistachio ice cream makes a much nicer presentation.  It is guaranteed to impress your friends and family, especially on a hot summer day.


Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

1/3 cup hazel nuts
1/3 cup maraschino cherries, plus 4 cherries for garnish, well-drained
1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 1/2 pints pistachio ice cream, softened
1/4 cup chocolate mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons diced candied citron or mixed candied fruit
2 tablespoons Frangelico (optional)
2 tablespoons Amaretto (optional)

PREPARE THE MOLD:  Line a 10-inch by 5-inch loaf pan using two strips of parchment paper.  Cut the parchment so that it hangs 1/2-inch over the sides of the pan.  Place the pan in the freezer.

TOAST THE HAZELNUTS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place hazel nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

While the hazelnuts are still hot, vigorously rub off as much of the skins as you can with a dish towel.  Set aside to cool.  Put the nuts in a small sealed plastic bag and crush into small pieces with a meat mallet or rolling pin.  Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons for the garnish.

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE LAYER:  Place the chocolate ice cream in a medium bowl, stir in the hazelnuts, and Frangelico.

Spread into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

MAKE THE VANILLA LAYER:  Cut the cherries in halves and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place the vanilla ice cream in a medium bowl and stir in the cherry halves, chocolate chips, citron, and Amaretto.

Spread on top of the chocolate ice cream in an even layer.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

ADD THE PISTACHIO LAYER:  Soften the pistachio ice cream and spread on top of the vanilla ice cream mixture in an even layer.  Cover the top with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours, until firm.

UNMOLD THE ICE CREAM TORTE:  Remove plastic wrap from mold.  Dip the pan up to the rim in warm water for just a few seconds to loosen.  Flip onto a serving dish and discard parchment paper.  Garnish with reserved hazelnuts and maraschino cherries.  Freeze until ready to serve.  Cut into 1-inch slices with a sharp knife.

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