Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cassata


A few weeks ago I commented on my Fruit mince pie post that I never used to eat Christmas Pudding, which meant no sweets for me after Christmas lunch. Until one year my Mum started making Cassata, also known as an Ice cream cake. However, I have taken her recipe and adapted it slightly and because of the colours she has now dubbed it 'a fancy Neopolitan'. 

After making my fruit mince pies, I had so much of the fruit mix leftover I had to think of alternative ways to use it up. I thought of ice cream as my mum's original cassata recipe is done with glacĂ© cherries and toasted almonds. Having substituted the cherries for the fruit mince I think it gives the cassata a more Christmassy feel. 

The chocolate layer I have kept the same because, lets face it, who doesn't love chocolate. 

For the third and final layer I really wanted to incorporate cherries some how. Having already used dried fruit I thought fresh cherries might be a better option. Soaking the cherries with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar might sound a little weird but believe me it gives this layer a little zing! 

The combination of flavours and textures is a definite winner in my book and I hope, like me, that it becomes a regular addition to your festive season. 


INGREDIENTS
2 Litre tub of Vanilla Ice cream
Fruit Mince Layer
1/2 cup Fruit Mince
1/2 Slivered Almonds, toasted
Chocolate Layer
125g Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Cream
1 cup plain Chocolate biscuits, chopped
Cherry Layer
150g fresh Cherries, pitted
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar 
30g Icing Sugar

Before you begin, spray a large loaf tin with cooking oil spray and line with glad wrap. This will aid in the removal of the cassata once you're ready to serve. 

To make the Fruit Mince Layer...
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the almonds on a tray and toast in the oven for around 5-10 minutes or until golden in colour. BUT keep a watchful eye on them as they can burn quite quickly. 

In a bowl, combine one third of the vanilla ice cream, almonds and fruit mince (I used some of my left over fruit mince from the Fruit mince pie recipe, but store bought is fine as well). Place the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and allow it to chill in the freezer for a few hours before proceeding with the next layer.
To make the chocolate layer...
First off make a ganache. I have made a ganache a few times on my blog but just to refresh your memory...

...chop the chocolate until it is rather fine and place in a bowl. Warm the cream until just before boiling point and pour over the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

In the same bowl as the ganache, add the next third of ice cream and the chopped chocolate biscuits (ensure that the biscuits are quite chunky so you get a nice texture in that layer). Pour into the loaf pan on top of the fruit mince layer. Allow to chill.


To make the Cherry Layer...
While the chocolate layer is chilling, prepare the cherries. In a bowl, place the cherries, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Allow to macerate for at least 2 hours. 

Once the 2 hours is up, blend the cherry mix until smooth. Mix into the last third of ice cream and pour into the loaf tin over the chocolate layer. Allow to the entire cassata to chill for several hours or overnight.  


If you're making this cassata for Christmas Day it can be made days or even a few weeks in advance. It keeps well in the freezer, just remember to keep it covered. 

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