December: Ginger Biscuit Tortoni

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Buon giorno!

Many of you may remember a popular Italian dessert that used to appear on Italian restaurant menus in years past – Tortoni or Biscuit Tortoni. This dessert has old roots and was served by Italians in Paris in the 1800’s. It was a favorite of my husband when we were first married, and he often asked me to make it for family gatherings. I don’t hear of it as much these days, and it is sad, in my view, as it is sooo tasty as to even be slightly addictive. Thinking it might be fun to merge Tortoni with some holiday flavors, I developed  my own recipe for GINGER BISCUIT TORTONI which has turned out to be a hit in our household during the Christmas season.

What is Tortoni or Biscuit Tortoni? This dessert is an easy to make and easy to serve – almost ice cream concoction. However, unlike ice cream, no special machinery is necessary to make it. It is a delicious blend of cream, cookie crumbs (which account for the biscuit part of this), nuts, candied or crystallized ginger, rum, and a few other ingredients. Once mixed together, you spoon it into muffin cups, which is the traditional way to serve this delight – and then you freeze it.

It should freeze for at least 2-3 hours, but can be made ahead and frozen. If frozen solid, remove the cups from the freezer several minutes before serving. You’ll want the consistency to be a little softer so that a spoon slides through it easily – not rock hard. On that note, I remind you that if you don’t let these little sugar plums sit out a bit – they may start flying about the table when your guests attempt to attack them with their spoons. Tortoni, no matter how tasty, landing in the lap of “Aunt Nicolina” is generally frowned upon!

This one is waaay too easy not to try! Fa-la-la-la-la…


Makes: 12-14 tortoni

Prep: 40 minutes


3/4 c. Crushed Ginger Snaps (found at any grocer) or Gingerbread Biscotti – recipe HERE 

1/2 c. Toasted Coarsely chopped slivered almonds

2 1/2 c. Heavy Cream

3 Tbsp. Spiced Rum (I like Captain Morgan’s)

1/3 c. Sugar

dash salt

2 tsp Orange Zest

2 Tbsp. Chopped Candied or Crystallized Ginger ( 3 Tbsp. if you really like ginger!)

Red candied cherries ( or red and green)

Extra ginger snap or biscotti crumbs for garnish


Crush cookies – easy in food processor.

Toast almonds and set aside.

Tortoni 1

Add rum to the cream and whip.

Mix together: Sugar, salt, orange zest, crushed cookies or biscotti, toasted almonds, candied or crystallized ginger.

Tortoni 2

Add this mixture to the whipped cream and rum. Fold in gently.

Tortoni 3

Spoon this into muffin cups – lined with paper muffin liners.

Tortoni 4

Top with candied cherries and crushed cookies or biscotti.

Freeze at least 3 hours.

Tortoni 5

If you make this and freeze it ahead, let the tortoni sit out a few minutes before serving so it won’t be rock hard.


All you need with this is a piping hot cup of espresso. Serve one of the GINGER BISCUIT TORTONI to each person – but expect them to ask for more!


Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.



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