Have you ever eaten a chocolate semifreddo, or any semifreddo for that matter? I haven’t, up until I made one. It is shocking that I lived so much of my life without ever trying one. My family heritage is Italian. I’ve spent a lot of time on my blog talking about that, connecting with my heritage, even visiting my grandparents’ village in Italy, making italian dishes whenever I can, so it is rather shocking I never tried or made a semifreddo before.
Honestly, summer is the perfect time for this dessert. It is refreshing to have something cold. If you don’t know what a semifreddo is, it literally means ‘half cold’ in Italian. It is basically a soft ice cream, if you ask me. The main ingredients are egg, sugar and cream. It is frozen and almost has the texture of a frozen mousse.
It’s cherry season, so I decided to make a simple cherry sauce to pair with the chocolate. Chocolate and cherries go so well together. The entire dish is then topped with some candied almond for that crunch. I know it might seem intimidating to make a semifreddo, but the instructions actually appear much harder than it is to make. I thought making ice cream was difficult too, but then I made these ‘no ice cream maker’ ice cream recipes a few years back, and realized it’s actually very easy to make frozen treats at home.
Plus, the cherry sauce and the almonds are super easy to make and you’ll even have left overs to make a yogurt parfait or top your pancakes. The chocolate semifreddo turned out so yummy! it is very chocolatey and rich. You don’t need a large piece to feel satisfied. The cherries are just a little tart and the almonds add such a nice crunch. I’m seriously in love with this dessert. Now I want to make every kind of semifreddo!
If you’ve never tried a chocolate semifreddo, you need to try this recipe. I promise it’s totally doable and you’ll absolutely love the results. Enjoy!
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
- chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso
- 3 large eggs
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- ¼ cup water
1. Lightly spray loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and line with plastic wrap, leaving 3-inch overhang on all sides. Place chocolate in large heatproof bowl; set mesh strainer over bowl and set aside. Stir vanilla and espresso powder in small bowl until espresso powder is dissolved.
2. Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until combined. Heat ½ cup cream (keep remaining 1½ cups chilled) and water in medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Slowly whisk hot cream mixture into egg mixture until combined. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of saucepan with rubber spatula, until mixture is very slightly thickened and registers 160 to 165 degrees, about 5 minutes. Do not let mixture simmer.
3. Immediately pour mixture through strainer set over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth, then whisk in vanilla-espresso mixture. Let chocolate mixture cool completely, about 15 minutes.
4. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 1½ cups cream on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat until whisk leaves trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
5. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture until incorporated and no streaks of whipped cream remain. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread evenly with rubber spatula. Fold overhanging plastic over surface. Freeze until rm, at least 6 hours.
6. When ready to serve, remove plastic from surface and invert pan onto serving plate. Remove plastic and smooth surface with spatula as necessary. Dip slicing knife in very hot water and wipe dry. Slice semifreddo ¾ inch thick, transferring slices to individual plates and dipping and wiping knife after each slice. Serve immediately. (Semifreddo can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 weeks.)
- 12 ounces frozen sweet cherries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons kirsch
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Combine cherries and sugar in bowl and microwave for 1½ minutes. Stir, then continue to microwave until sugar is mostly dissolved, about 1 minute longer. Combine kirsch and cornstarch in small bowl.
2. Drain cherries in a mesh strainer set over small saucepan. Return cherries to bowl and set aside.
3. Bring juice in saucepan to simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in kirsch mixture and bring to boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and appears syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cherries and lemon juice. Let sauce cool completely before serving. (You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week.)
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in single layer on rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 8 to 12 minutes, shaking sheet halfway through toasting. Transfer nuts to plate and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not wash sheet.
2. Line now-empty sheet with parchment paper. Whisk sugar, hot water, and salt in large bowl until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add nuts and stir to coat. Spread nuts on prepared sheet in single layer and bake until nuts are crisp and dry, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let nuts cool completely, about 20 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board and chop as desired. (You can store the nuts at room temperature for up to 1 week.)