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)
White chocolate
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.

5 Responses to “Semifreddo with torrone – Semifreddo al torrone”

  1. Joyce said:

    The Semmifreddo looks delicious. I have a couple of questions.

    !. is 300 Torrone the name of the Torrone or quantity? What quantity of Torrone is needed for the first part (making the semifreddo)?

    2. I’m confused by steps 2 & 3 of the presentation.
    Step 2: decorate it with dark and white chocolate: Is that the sauce?
    Step 3: When it’s sliced, then it’s topped by the chocolate sauces. Different from step 2?

    I agree that real Italian torrone is special. I have part of one remaining bar of Torrone Nurzia from l’Aguila in Abruzzo that I bought a year ago. I can’t bear to finish it.
    Thanks for your help.

  2. Patty said:

    300 were the grams I forgot to convert it to ounces :-).
    What I mean here is some chocolate swirls or shavings on top of the Semifreddo before bringing it to the table. Actually I didn’t post a picture of it so it may have been confusing. Once it is sliced then add the sauces on the individual servings as in the picture.

    Sorry about the confusion


  3. Curt said:

    Wow Patty!

    You did it again, this looks really delicious. I love the pictures, I can almost taste it.
    My daughter Ooma would really appreciate this one.

    Thanks again :-)

  4. Chris in IN said:

    Hello Patty I just returned from Boston and while there I made numerous treks to the North End to eat & to visit the bakery’s there-Mike’s Pastry, Modern Pastry and Bova’s Bakery. Of the 3 Modern had the most delicious Torrone! I had never eaten it before and I asked for chocolate covered biscotti and the girl said you want torrone? Then she pointed at a bar that was covered with chocolate and looked great so I said yes. I had no idea what I was getting. It cost me $4.75 and I thought that was kind of expensive. I got back to my hotel room and sunk my teeth into it-oh my oh my oh my!!!! It was the most incredibly DELISH thing I’ve ever eaten!! While the other two bakeries had their own wonderful things they couldn’t touch the quality of the nougat in Modern’s Torrone and the layer of caramel between the nougat and chocolate-too die for!!! Needless to say I now want to recreate the torrone at home. I was searching for a good Italian cookbook that will lay it out for me step by step. Then I found your blog and this recipe which looks very well laid out. Can you tell me how they get the layer of caramel on top of the nougat? And how they pour the chocolate layer on top of that? Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. If you can tell me of a cookbook where I can find it laid out well I’ll purchase one. Thanks so much for posting your semifreddo w/torrone recipe! And the photos are very good too.
    Chris in IN

  5. Patty said:

    @Chris: I never made torrone myself, even if I’m always tempted to try and make it for Christmas. I’m sorry but I wouldn’t know how to help you, especially with this modern version of torrone.

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