I love chocolate. I love amaretto liqueur. And I love amaretti (macaroon biscuits).
This month, I combined all three to make a very simple, very quick and very delicious ice cream.
Incidentally, whilst amaretti biscuits are traditionally made from almonds, amaretto liqueur, which has a similar almond flavour, is commonly made from apricot pits, with or without almonds included.
In the UK, amaretto has become almost synonymous with Disaronno.
I have found the gradual rebranding of Disaronno amusing. It’s been so successful that many people now don’t even realise that Disaronno is simply one brand of amaretto liqueur amongst others. When I was a teenager in the 1980s (and getting into such drinks), the brand was still called Amaretto di Saronno Originale, which simply translated as ‘original amaretto from Saronno’, a town in Lombardy, Italy. Sometime in late eighties or early nineties, owners ILLVA changed the name to Amaretto Disaronno Originale, changing Disaronno from a geographical indication into the brand. And around the turn of the century, they dropped the word amaretto from the bottles completely and rebranded to Disaronno Originale.
That means it’s now far more common for drinkers to ask the barman for a Disaronno than for a generic amaretto, pushing competitors firmly to the side-lines. Clever marketing! Other well-established brands I’ve come across include Galliano, Lazzaroni (who dispute ILLVA’s claim to the story of the origins of amaretto) and Zuidam, though there are many others.
If you like Disaronno, as I do, it’s definitely worth seeking out and trying other brands.
You can also find many less expensive own-label amaretto liqueurs including Arino Amaretto from Morrison’s, Armilar Amaretto from Lidl, Belluci Amaretto from Aldi (which seems to be the cheapest), Soiree Amaretto from Asda and Sainsbury’s and Bella Veroni Amaretto from Tesco, which is available in standard and espresso versions.
If you’re worried how to use up the rest of a bottle, it’s lovely served after dinner over ice and it’s also a superb liqueur to use for making tiramisu.
Quick & Easy Chocolate, Amaretto & Amaretti Ice Cream
500 grams fresh chocolate custard (I used Waitrose Seriously Creamy Belgian Chocolate Custard)
4-5 amaretti biscuits, crushed
3-4 tablespoons amaretto liqueur (I used Tesco’s Bella Veroni espresso version)
1-2 amaretti biscuits, crushed
Pour the custard directly into your ice cream machine and add the amaretto liqueur immediately.
When the ice cream is nearly frozen, add 4-5 crushed amaretti biscuits.
To serve, sprinkle additional crushed amaretti biscuits over the top.
As you can see, this recipe is so quick that it really takes only as long as your ice cream machine takes to churn and freeze it!
The flavours and textures work very well. The crushed biscuits within the ice cream soften a little on exposure to the liquid, whereas the ones sprinkled over the top before serving give more crunch.
Try other variations by combining your favourite liqueurs with either a chocolate or vanilla custard base. I like using fresh, but long life custards do work too, and have the advantage of allowing you to make a stock cupboard ice cream dessert at very short notice – as long as you keep a few cartons of custard in your cupboard!