The mascarpone-based ice cream is rich and creamy, but not as sweet as most ice creams. The sponge cookies get a generous soaking of coffee and coffee liqueur, though you also could use chocolate liqueur.
Traditional recipes for making ice cream call for chilling it in the freezer to firm it up after it comes out of the ice cream machine. But for this recipe, it is best to assemble the sundaes immediately after the ice cream comes out of the machine. This ensures it will be soft enough to work with.
Start to finish: 2 hours (time will vary depending on speed on ice cream machine)
For the syrup:
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup coffee or chocolate liqueur (such as Tia Maria or creme de cacao)
For the mascarpone ice cream:
9 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
8 sponge finger cookies
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Cocoa powder, for dusting
In a small bowl, dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water. Add the liqueur and set aside to cool.
To make the ice cream, in a medium bowl mix together the mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche and heavy cream. Stir in the powdered sugar. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
To assemble, break 4 of the sponge finger cookies into pieces and arrange some in the bottom of each of the sundae dishes. Drizzle with a little of the coffee liquid until moist. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over each, then dust with cocoa.
Place a spoonful of the mascarpone ice cream into each dish and level the surface with the back of a spoon. Arrange the remaining sponge fingers on top and drizzle over a little more of the coffee liquid. Sprinkle with a few more chocolate chips, add a further dusting of cocoa powder, then top with the remaining ice cream, again leveling the surface. Dust the top of each sundae liberally with cocoa powder and serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 724 calories; 575 calories from fat; 64 g fat (37 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 209 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 1 g fiber; 183 mg sodium.
(Recipe adapted from Hannah Miles' "Sundaes and Splits," Ryland, Peters and Small, 2010)