Traditional Sicilian cassata sees layers of sponge, ricotta and candied peel covered in marzipan, but this ice-cream version is a welcome alternative on a sweltering summer’s day.

1.2 litres





Skill level

Average: 3.3 (36 votes)


  • 600 ml pouring cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 500 g good-quality fresh full-cream ricotta
  • 4 glacé orange rounds (see Note)
  • 55 g (⅓ cup) mixed dried berries (see Note)
  • 45 g (⅓ cup) roughly chopped pistachios
  • 12 waffle cones
  • edible gold leaf (see Note), to decorate (optional)


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time overnight

Freezing time 3 hours

Place cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Gradually pour hot cream over egg mixture, stirring constantly. Transfer to a clean saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 6 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon; don’t boil mixture.

Remove from heat and pour into a clean bowl. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight until custard is thick and very cold. Remove vanilla bean.

Place three-quarters of the ricotta in a food processor and blend until smooth. Fold all of the ricotta through the custard, then place in an ice-cream maker and churn for 20 minutes or until it reaches soft-serve consistency, then add glacé oranges, berries and pistachios and churn for a further 10 minutes or until fruit holds in the ice-cream.

Transfer to a 1.5L container and freeze for 3 hours or until just firm. If you freeze for longer than this, allow to soften for 20 minutes before serving.

Decorate cones with gold leaf, if using, then scoop ice-cream into cones, to serve.



• Glacé orange rounds and mixed dried berries are available from delis, select greengrocers and specialty food shops.

• Edible gold leaf is sold as either thin flakes or sheets of gold of very high purity. It is available from Indian food shops where it’s known as vark, and cake-decorating shops.


Photography by Ben Dearnley


As seen in Feast magazine, December/January 2014, Issue 38.