Semifreddo with torrone – Semifreddo al torrone
Semifreddo means “semi-cold” in Italian and it refers to semi frozen desserts. They actually taste a little bit like ice cream but they don’t need any machine to be prepared. Most of them have whipped cream and egg whites.
Torrone is a delicious concoction of honey, egg whites, toasted almonds, hazelnuts and vanilla. It has antique origins and it seems it was first made in Cremona. There are different kinds of torrone and its characteristics depend on the geographical location in which it’s made: hard or soft with hazelnuts and almonds covered by a wafer thin sheet some also have pistachos, hard or soft covered by chocolate, soft with honey and walnuts etc. Nowadays the types of torrone have multiplied and I was really impressed when I went to get my simple classic hard torrone and it took me awhile to find it. The majority in fact were soft, which I like, but I certainly prefer the classic one as it reminds me of my childhood.
10 oz. hard Almond Torrone or hazelnut (almond nougat)
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 pasteurized eggs divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
For the cream:
Semisweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
1/4 + 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 + 1/4 cup whole milk
Hard chocolate torrone or the classic one for decoration (optional)
For the semifreddo:
1. Coarsely chop the torrone and set aside.
2. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form and refrigerate.
3. Whip the heavy cream until firm and refrigerate until ready to assemble the dessert.
4. Beat the egg yolks with sugar and vanilla until foamy and pale yellow.
5. Add the whipped cream to the eggs and sugar, then egg whites mixing them gently from bottom to top and lastly the chopped torrone.
6. Combine well. Pour the preparation in a nonstick loaf pan previously wet with cold water.
7. Cover the semifreddo with tinfoil and freeze for 4-5 hours or overnight.
For the sauces: The sauces have to be prepared 20-30 minutes before serving the semifreddo.
1. Break the two chocolate bars in small pieces and place them separated in two double boilers, add heavy cream and milk to each chocolate. Melt the two chocolates at low heat mixing often to combine the ingredients well.
2. When melted remove the double boilers from the stove but leave the chocolate on the pot, so it will keep moist. At first the sauces will be really liquid, but they’ll get thicker in about 15 minutes
Presenting the semifreddo:
1. Dip the loaf pan in warm water for less then a minute. Turn it over on a rectangular serving dish and it should slide right out.
2. Decorate it with swirls of white and dark chocolate and bring it to the table.
3. To serve it slice the semifreddo, top it with the two chocolate creams and sprinkle it with chopped hard chocolate torrone or the classic kind. If you don’t have it you can decorate the slice with some roughly chopped toasted almonds as well and some swirls of chocolate.