The Ultimate Spumoni

published Jan 18, 2022
summer
Spumoni Recipe

Level up traditional spumoni with toasty pistachios, maraschino cherries, and crunchy mini dark chocolate chips.

Serves8

Prep1 hour 45 minutes

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a slice of Spumoni ice cream cake (a layered combination of pistachio, cherry and chocolate ice cream with whole cherries inside)
Credit: Laura Rege

Traditional spumoni requires nothing more than three layers of store-bought gelato or ice cream, but we couldn’t help ourselves from making a few minor additions (or, one might say, upgrades) to ensure an extra-special dessert. We amped up each layer with salty toasty pistachios, irresistible red maraschino cherries, and crunchy mini dark chocolate chips.

The first layer, pistachio, adds a nutty note. For the biggest visual kick, select a brand of pistachio gelato or ice cream with a vibrant green color. (Here we used Talenti.) In our recipe, roasted and salted pistachios are mixed into the pistachio gelato to boost crunch and add little bits saltiness. Gelato or ice cream brands vary in how many pistachios pieces are in the product. You can increase the amount up to a half cup of chopped pistachios for additional texture.

Next up, cherry gelato or ice cream creates a pretty sweet pink layer to center the dessert. Because cherry ice cream can be hard to find, we made our own with maraschino cherries and vanilla ice cream. The maraschino cherry chunks look absolutely irresistible in the final slice and the cherry juice tints the ice cream pink. Don’t overdo it on the cherry juice — it’s very sugary and can make it harder for the ice cream to refreeze solid. If you find a cherry ice cream brand that you like, use two and one-third cups in place of making your own. Here we used Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and standard bright red maraschino cherries. If you don’t mind losing the bright pink color, swap in a fancier maraschino cherry brand such as Luxardo.

The final layer: chocolate. Sure, chocolate ice cream is pretty perfect as it is, and traditionally it would be a smooth layer; however we didn’t want to stop at that. So we opted for another super-fast adjustment, folding mini dark chocolate chips to add an irresistible crunch to break up the creamy, cool dessert.

What Is Spumoni?

Spumoni is an Italian-American layered gelato (or ice cream) dessert. Most commonly spumoni is made by creating a molded frozen dessert of three layers: pistachio, cherry, and chocolate or vanilla gelato.

How Is Spumoni Different from Ice Cream?

While spumoni can be ice cream or gelato, it differs from a regular scoop because the frozen dessert is layered and sliced.

Credit: Laura Rege

Spumoni Versus Neapolitan 

Spumoni is very similar to Neopolitan, however Neopolitan tends to swap the cherry for strawberry ice cream or gelato.

Spumoni Recipe

Level up traditional spumoni with toasty pistachios, maraschino cherries, and crunchy mini dark chocolate chips.

Prep time 1 hour 45 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pint

    pistachio ice cream or gelato (about 2 cups)

  • Cooking spray

  • 1/3 cup

    roasted, salted pistachios

  • 1 pint

    vanilla ice cream (about 2 cups)

  • 1 (6-ounce) jar

    maraschino cherries, or 1/3 cup drained maraschino cherries plus 1 tablespoon juice

  • 3 cups

    chocolate ice cream

  • 1/4 cup

    mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place 1 pint pistachio ice cream on the counter and let sit at room temperature until softened enough to easily stir, 20 to 30 minutes. It should be a little firmer than soft serve. Meanwhile, coat the sides of a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overhang on all sides. Coat the parchment with cooking spray. (Alternatively, line the greased loaf pan with plastic wrap and grease the plastic wrap.) Coarsely chop 1/3 cup roasted, salted pistachios and place in a medium bowl.

  2. Add the pistachio ice cream to the bowl and use a spoon or stiff spatula to fold the pistachios evenly throughout the ice cream. Transfer to the loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 pint vanilla ice cream on the counter and let sit at room temperature until softened enough to easily stir, 20 to 30 minutes. Scoop out 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice from 1 (6-ounce) jar maraschino cherries and add to a medium bowl. Drain the maraschino cherries and add to the cherry juice.

  3. Add the vanilla ice cream to the bowl and use a spoon or stiff spatula to fold the cherries and cherry juice evenly throughout the ice cream until uniformly pink. Transfer to the loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place 3 cups chocolate ice cream on the counter and let sit at room temperature until softened enough to easily stir, 20 to 30 minutes. Place 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips in a medium bowl.

  4. Add the chocolate ice cream to the bowl and use a spoon or stiff spatula to fold the chips evenly throughout the ice cream. Transfer to the loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 5 hours or up to overnight.

  5. Uncover the spumoni. Run a clean kitchen towel under hot water and rub the towel along the sides of the loaf pan a few times to loosen it, rewarming the towel as needed if the spumoni won’t budge. Using the overhang, carefully lift the spumoni out of the loaf pan and remove the parchment or plastic wrap. Place chocolate-side down on a cutting board and crosswise about 1-inch thick. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Spumoni can be prepared, wrapped airtight, and frozen for up to 1 month.