Traditionally the Sicilian Cassata is made from sponge, ricotta and lashings of marzipan and a very sweet icing. Although I love the traditional cassata, I also love gelato and figured that the meeting of these two recipes could only mean sheer pleasure for the mouth. If you are a real foodie and completely against store bought, you can make your own vanilla and coffee gelato. As this is a dessert that I like to throw together when I know I have people coming over, I tend to use the best quality vanilla bean and espresso gelato I can find. I have used figs and candied orange, although if you have a preference for any other flavours, then go right ahead and adjust the recipe to suit your favourite ice cream and flavours.
1 cup expresso coffee
60ml amaretto liquor
Line the inside of the bowl with plastic wrap until it is completely covered. Place the bowl in the freezer half an hour before filling it with the ice cream.
Slice the figs, place them into a small bowl and cover with the amaretto liquor. Marinate the figs for several hours. Whip the ricotta and sugar until smooth, add the thinly sliced candied orange, marinated figs and mix until well combined. Set the ricotta aside in the fridge until needed. Using a rolling pin or bottle, roughly crush the amaretti biscuits.
Allow the vanilla and coffee ice cream to defrost for 10 minutes or until it can be easily spooned into the mould, take the mould out of the freezer and smooth in the vanilla ice cream evenly to cover the interior of the mould, sprinkle all of the amaretti biscuits over the vanilla ice cream, place the mould back in the freezer for a further 15-20 minutes
Repeat the process with the coffee ice cream leaving room in the centre of the mould for the ricotta, fill the centre of the mould with the ricotta mixture ensuring the mould is full and smooth the ricotta over the base. Place the mould back into the freezer for at least 24 hours to set completely. Slice with a wet sharp knife and serve drizzled with the espresso syrup.
Place all ingredients except the amaretto, into a small pot over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer until syrup reduces by half and thickens to coat the back of a spoon, add the amaretto.
Amaretto Liqueur is an authentic Italian liqueur that has wonderful almond marzipan flavours. Drink it on the rocks or top it over your favourite ice-cream, use it in baking and cocktails to bring an authentic taste of Italy into your cooking.