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toasted nut cherry cassata - 5 days of Christmas

Welcome to Day 2 of the 5 Days of Christmas. Today's post is for all my fellow Southern hemisphere readers. Although I love a traditional Christmas pudding (and I'll be making our pudding tomorrow) sometimes it's a bit hard going on a hot Christmas Day. Something iced would make so much more sense in our climate. Many years ago my workmate Jane brought this cassata along to a work break-up party. It was lovely so I asked her for the recipe, which is tucked away somewhere in my recipe box. It comes from the very old Australian Women's Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook, a much thumbed copy of which I have on my bookshelf. I've not made it in years but I thought as we're having a bumper cherry crop this year, this would be the perfect dessert for Christmas Day.

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I made the cassata 2 weeks ago and left it in the freezer to set. I took the cassata out last Sunday morning to photograph and well who would have thought photographing it would prove such a challenge. 

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The past few weekends have been ridiculously hot and even at 7.00 a.m. it was close to 25°C. The cassata melted as soon as I took it from the freezer even though I'd stored the serving platters overnight in the freezer. I guess I just didn't work fast enough!


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I changed up the recipe a little. I used an oblong pan instead of a round one and added some fresh cherries along with the mixed glace fruit. I ditched the coconut biscuits for some toasted shredded coconut but pretty much left the recipe the same.



Here's the recipe for you

Toasted Nut Cassata

Ingredients
½ cup mixed glace fruit, chopped
2 tablespoons brandy
300 ml (1¼ cups) cream
2 teaspoons caster sugar
125 g (4 oz) dark chocolate
15 g (½ oz) butter
2 litres (2 quarts) vanilla ice cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cocoa
60 g (2 oz) almonds, slivered
60 g (2 oz) coconut biscuits
300 ml (1¼ cups) cream, extra

Directions
Line base of 20 cm (8") spring form pan with aluminium foil.

Combine glace fruit and brandy, mix well, let stand 10 minutes.

Whip cream and sugar until thick, fold in fruit and brandy, spread cream mixture over base of spring form pan, freeze.

Put chopped chocolate and butter in top of double saucepan, stir over gently-simmering water until melted; cool.

Combine half the softened ice-cream and vanilla, add approximately half a cup of this ice-cream to melted chocolate mixture, mix well and add chocolate mixture to ice-cream, mix well; the melted chocolate gives the ice-cream a "chocolate chip" texture.

Stir in sifted cocoa, mix well; spread chocolate ice-cream over cream layer; freeze.

Spread remaining half-softened ice-cream over chocolate layer.

Place almonds in moderate oven 5 minutes or until light golden brown; crush coconut biscuits lightly; sprinkle combined biscuits crumbs and almonds over top of cassata; press crumbs and almonds lightly into ice-cream; freeze until firm.

Pipe extra whipped cream decoratively around top.

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Even though it was a bit melty, the cassata was still delicious, just perfect for a hot Australian Christmas Day.

See you all again tomorrow for Day 3 of the 5 Days of Christmas.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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