Spumoni Ice Cream Terrine Recipe

This fun and easy Italian-American dessert is layered with chocolate, pistachio, and cherry-almond ice cream.

Overhead view of a spumoni ice cream terrine, flanked by plated slap of the dessert.

Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

Why This Recipe Works

  • Freezing the dessert after spreading each ice cream results in a terrine with clean, even layers.
  • Cherry brandy and almond extract amplify the flavors of the maraschino cherries and sliced almonds.

I once set my chopsticks aside and packed my backpack for a four-week European adventure. First stop: Italy. I could not wait to drown myself in everything Italian, including as much gelato as I could spoon down. Before I left I was inspired to throw together an Italian-themed dessert. It had to be something simple and not too involved because it was sweltering hot out. What immediately sprung to mind was spumoni: an Italian ice treat that was popular at my favorite pop-up summer Italian ice shops on Long Island.

So what's spumoni you ask? Spumoni is a layered mix of ice cream in three flavors: chocolate, pistachio, and maraschino cherry. Kind of like the Neopolitan ice cream mix of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate that your grandmother would buy. (Us kids always got scolded for digging out the chocolate, didn't we?).

"This is one of the simplest desserts to make at home."

This is one of the simplest desserts to make at home. It's simply a layered ice cream terrine, so no cooking or baking is involved. Start by assembling your favorite chocolate and pistachio ice creams and let them soften just until malleable. The cherry layer is the only one you have to fuss with. For mine, I mixed plain vanilla ice cream with chopped maraschino cherries, crunchy almonds, cherry brandy (Kirsch), and a few dabs of pink food coloring. (Confession: I dabbed a few specks of green coloring into the pistachio). Then freeze the terrine until firm, unmold, and slice. The flavors complement each other, and, for those of us who remember, the colorful slabs of spumoni will transport you right back into that game Candyland.

So is spumoni authentic Italian? Well after traveling around Italy for a week, I didn't see it in any gelato shop or restaurant, so the answer on my end will be probably not. But either way, the flavor combination is delicious, and the layered flag-like colors of this terrine make a fun, colorful treat that's a step up from your typical bowl of ice cream.

July 2013

Recipe Details

Spumoni Ice Cream Terrine Recipe

Prep 10 mins
Active 15 mins
Freezing Time 4 hrs
Total 4 hrs 10 mins
Serves 8 servings

This fun and easy Italian-American dessert is layered with chocolate, pistachio, and cherry-almond ice cream.


  • 3 cups pistachio ice cream, softened

  • 3 cups vanilla (or cherry vanilla) ice cream, softened

  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, chopped

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons cherry brandy

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • A few specks pink food coloring

  • 3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened


  1. Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place a 12- by 8-inch piece of parchment paper into pan, letting sides overhang the edges. Spread pistachio ice cream into pan and smooth the top. Freeze until semi-frozen, about 20 minutes.

  2. Stir vanilla ice cream, chopped cherries, almonds, brandy, and almond extract until combined. Stir in food coloring (if using) to desired shade of pink. Spread over pistachio ice cream. Freeze for 30 minutes, or until semi-firm.

  3. Spread chocolate ice cream over cherry ice cream and smooth top. Wrap and freeze until completely solid, 3 to 4 hours. Remove from pan, remove wrap, and slice with a hot, wet, knife.

Special Equipment

9- by 5-inch loaf pan

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
374 Calories
19g Fat
46g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 374
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 10g 48%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 108mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 41g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 192mg 15%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 365mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)