Our family prefers to finish a meal off with some cheese or fresh fruit, so needless to say we’ve never been huge dessert eaters. At Easter and Christmas however, the dining table is incomplete without the obligatory Panettone and Savoiardi Biscuits.
Savoiardi are light and sweet sponge fingers commonly used as the main ingredient in many desserts such as trifles and tiramisu. The finger biscuits are an Italian tradition and are ideal for preparing cakes in general.
Our family Christmas cake is a cross between a Zuccoto and a Rum Baba. Over the years it has developed a history of its own, and our family laughingly refer to this Christmas dessert as Savoiardi Baba with Fresh Fruit (Savoiardi a Baba con Frutta Fresca).
The cake itself is extremely easy to make and requires no cooking. We like to prepare the cake 24-36 hours before Christmas day as it allows the cake to firmly set in the cake mould and the liqueurs to seep through the biscuits and fruit.
A Merry Christmas at our place is a serve of Savoiardi Baba with Fresh Fruit and drunk with a shot of grappa.
Our family Christmas Cake - Savoiardi Baba with Fresh Fruit.
Ingredients 500g Savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits)
1 Cup Fresh pineapple
1 Cup Fresh mango
1 Cup Preserved Pears
1 1/2 Cups Ricotta cream
1 Teaspoon Vanilla sugar
1/2 Cup Rosso Antico
1/2 Cup Frangelico
1/2 Cup Baileys Irish Cream
Dice all fruit into small cubes and combine into one large bowl.
Combine the ricotta and vanilla sugar and blend or process until it resembles thickened cream.
The key ingredients in this dessert is fresh fruit (Mango, Pineapple and Pears), Ricotta whipped with vanilla sugar to form Ricotta Cream and Savoiardi Sponge Finger Biscuits.
Crumble a Savoiardi biscuit at the smaller end of the cake mould and drizzle some of the liqueurs on the biscuit crumbs. If you don't have this particular style of cake or jelly mould, a cake tin will do.
Crumble a sponge finger to form the base of the cake and drizzle with a variety of liqueurs.
Dip one biscuit at a time into each of the liqueurs, alternating flavours, then line the cake mould with the sponge fingers (approximately 12 biscuits).
Dip biscuits into the liqueurs and line the cake mould.
Once the cake mould is fully lined with the Savoiardi biscuits, using your hands, flatten the base and sponge fingers firmly into the mould.
Fully line the cake mould and using your hands flatten the base and sides into the mould casing.
Spread a layer of the ricotta cream over the biscuit base followed by the mixed fruit. Continue to layer ricotta and fruit until the mould is almost full. Ensure the ricotta cream is the final layer.
Layer the base with ricotta cream.
Layer the mixed fruit on top of the ricotta cream and continue to alternate layers.
Crumble the remaining Savoiardi biscuits (approximately 4-5) to form the base. Drizzle more liqueur over the biscuit base.
Ensure the final layer is ricotta cream.
Crumble the base of the cake with the remaining Savoiardi biscuits.
Ensure you drizzle a substantial amount of liqueur over the biscuit base.
Firmly press the lid down onto the biscuit base and clip shut and refrigerate.
Clip the lid shut and refrigerate.
Serve with an espresso coffee or a shot of grappa or liqueur.
Savoiardi Baba with Fresh Fruit.
The quantities given will be more than required, any surplus fruit or biscuits can be eaten on Boxing Day.
The preserved pears I used were home-made by my mum.
This Christmas dessert can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.