Cassata Ice Cream Cake

(Makes one 6-inch cake)
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Cassata Ice Cream Cake
Cassata is a traditional Sicilian dessert.  It is made with an Italian sponge cake and the same
ricotta filling that is used in cannoli; that is why cassata is sometimes referred to as cannoli cake. 
This cassata cake an ice cream cake with the same flavors of chocolate, pistachios, and orange
mixed into the ice cream-ricotta filling.  Layered onto an amaretti crust and glazed with chocolate,
this is a great twist on the traditional Sicilian cassata cake.

This recipe makes a 6-inch cake that serves about 6 people.
To make this cake in a 9-inch springform pan to serve 12, simply double all the ingredients.

1 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (about twenty 1-inch cookies)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 quart vanilla ice cream
7 - 8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest

2 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar.
Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

To make the filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the ice cream on low speed until creamy, but not melted. Beat in the ricotta, chocolate, pistachios, and zest.
Spread the ice cream mixture into the crust, smoothing the top.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream
Place in the freezer for about 8 hours or overnight.

To make the glaze:
Heat the cream in a saucepan or microwave. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a bowl. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute or two.  Stir until smooth.
Allow the glaze to cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.

Remove the cake from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap.
Spread the glaze evenly over the top of the cake.
Return the cake to the freezer until the glaze is set, about 20 minutes.

To serve:
Remove the cake from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
Remove the springform ring and cut into slices.
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Enjoy the recipes and the stories behind them for some of Sicily's favorite desserts.
The iconic Italian truffle known as Baci is a confection filled with gianduja, a blend of chocolate and hazelnuts, that comes wrapped in silver foil with blue print.  Still made in the heart of Perugia in Umbria, from its original recipe, Baci (which means "kisses") were created by Luisa Spagnoli in 11922 as a treat for someone she loved.
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