Today is National Spumoni Day. You know Spumoni – that delicious frozen treat which hails from southern Italy. Traditionally, Spumoni is three molded layers of gelato to create one uniquely delicious dessert. Traditionally, one layer included candied fruits (most often cherries), one layer with nuts (usually pistachio) and the third layer is luscious dark chocolate.
That said, it is thought that the first genuine Spumoni recipe was brought to Chicago from Nola, Italy in 1905. Salvatore Lezza and his wife, Lucia, opened a bakery in Chicago. Why bakers would be making spumoni isn’t revealed, but I suspect it may have been served along side baked goods.
In any case, their recipe for Spumoni called for three layers of Semifreddo (a semi-frozen dessert with a texture similar to frozen mousse) There was a almond layer, a semisweet chocolate layer and a layer of Stracciatella. (Yeah, that’s one I had to look up. Stracciatella a type of gelato with irregular bits of chocolate that is more in line with vanilla chocolate chip). While Semifreddo hit the scene sometime in the 19th century, it did not gain popularity until the early 20th century. Over time, the more popular cherry and pistachio layers of gelato replaced the almond and Semifreddo layers. Often Spumoni is formed into an Ice Cream Terrain, frozen and then sliced for a dramatic presentation.
Just as the original Spumoni evolved, over time, Spumoni inspired desserts have included Spumoni Swirled Cake, Spumoni Layered Cookies and even incorporated into Baked Alaska. Today Spumoni is so much more that just a gelato rendition of Neapolitan Ice Cream.
Spumoni Brownie Lush
1 box Fudge Brownie Mix
3 tablespoons Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pray the bottom only of a 13 by 9-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the brownie mix, water, oil and eggs. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake in the heated oven for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 2-inches from the side of the pan comes out almost clean. Remove from oven. let cool completely, about an hour.
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Cherry Pie Filling
1-1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip Topping
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Bean in the cherry pie filling and 1-1/2 cups of Cool Whip. Blend until smooth. Spread the cherry layer over the brownie.
2 (3.4 oz) boxes Pistachio-flavor Instant Pudding
2-1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip Topping, divided
In another medium bowl, beat dry pudding mixes and milk with whisk about 2 minutes or until thick. Beat in 1/2 cup Cool Whip. Spread over the cherry-cream cheese layer.
Drop remaining 2 cups Cool Whip by spoonfuls over Pistachio layer; carefully spread. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
1/4 cup Pistachio Nuts
20 Maraschino Cherries
2 tablespoons Chocolate Fudge Topping
When ready to serve, shell nuts, chop sprinkle over the top of the Spumoni Brownie. Remove stems from cherries, cut in half. Scatter cherries on top of the brownie. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate fudge topping uncovered on High 10 to 20 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pieces.