Spumone al Panforte: Spumone with Panforte
Outside of Italy “spumone” has come to mean molded ice cream in 3 layers—strawberry, vanilla and pistachio—for the colors of the Italian flag. Not in Italy! In Italy spumone is the general name for a category of semi-frozen sweetened whipped cream desserts.
Once you taste this embarrassingly- simple-to-make four-ingredient treat, you’ll gave away your ice cream maker! Why bother with a contraption, when you can enjoy a creamy frozen delight without one? Plus, spumone, just like gelato, you can vary it in thousands of ways, creating a virtually limitless list of flavors.
This one is flavored with panforte, a nougat specialty of Siena, made with dried fruits, almonds, honey and spices. Panforte, which means “strong bread,” is coated with a thin, white, edible wafer and topped with confectioners’ sugar. The white edible wafer that coats both sides of panforte is also used to make other sweets and is sold in Italian grocery stores. Curiously, it is also sold in pharmacies, which in Medieval times have sold all sorts of spices and sugars.
There are various versions of panforte including panforte nero, which is covered in chocolate and pampepato, “pepper bread,” a specialty of Umbria. All of which make wonderful spumoni.
Bring a pot of water to a low boil over medium heat. Combine the sugar and egg yolks in a metal or glass heat-resistant bowl and whisk until creamy and light yellow. Set the bowl over the boiling water, without letting the bottom touch the water, and continue to whisk until all the sugar has melted and the mixture thickens.
Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Then stir in about 3/4 of the panforte. Reserve the rest of the panforte as garnish.
In a large bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the spumone mixture.
Line a small loaf pan, approximately 8 x 4 1/2-inches, or individual molds, with plastic wrap. Spoon the spumone into the pan and place in the freezer for about 4 hours.
To serve, turn over onto a serving plate, remove the plastic wrap and garnish with the reserved panforte.