Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spumone is the Mother of All Dessert Invention, Apparently…

As the new line started popping up in the stores, the history of Neapolitan Ice Cream—the inspiration for our Neapolitan pastry—came into question.  Was it a truly Italian invention?  Did it harken from Naples, or somewhere else?  Who came up with the brilliant idea to put Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry ice creams together to make one phenomenal dessert?
Neapolitan Flavors in an Ice Cream Treat

While Neapolitan ice cream as we know it in America was not a traditional Italian dessert, it was an interpretation of another dessert known here as Spumoni (or spumone  in Italy) that was introduced to America around 1870 by Italian immigrants.  Spumone is a traditional dessert that originated in Naples, and consisted of a variety of flavors of gelato (typically cherry, chocolate and pistachio) that were shaped into a mold with layers of nuts and fruit separating the flavors.  This beautifully shaped dessert was then cut and served in thick slices.

A majority of Ice Cream Shoppes in the US in the 19th century were owned and operated by Italian Americans, who began to introduce this concoction.  However, over time, the owners of these Shoppes began to eliminate the nuts and fruit which were costly additions, and began to develop an American hybrid that would incorporate the three most popular flavors at the time: Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla.  Fans of ice cream began referring to this new dessert as “Neapolitan” because of its connection to the *real* Neapolitan dessert, Spumone.  Yet another popular “American” dessert that is said to have originated from spumone is the banana split.  In fact, one might argue that this is even closer to the original recipe because of the addition of fruit, nuts and whipped cream to the three flavors of ice cream!

Our Neapolitan Pastry is yet another riff on the original idea created in Naples long ago, but we think our forefathers would be quite proud.  Two layers of chocolate sponge cake are separated by a layer of strawberry mousse, then topped with Bavarian cream (a mixture of whipped cream and cream cheese), chocolate crumbles, and piped with chocolate ganache and another small dollop of the strawberry mousse.
Termini's Neapolitan Pastry

Like its predecessors, the layers are kept separate to ensure a beautiful presentation, but we personally think it tastes best when you take a bite with just a little of everything!  However you decide to tackle it, we hope you enjoy our interpretation of this classic Italian-American invention! 

All our best,
Termini Brothers Bakery

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