Glorious Semifreddo

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on January 19, 2011

I have a confession to make…ok, are you ready?  Here goes…

I don’t own and ice cream maker.

You may ask yourself why a seasoned Pastry Chef finds herself in this predicament, and my answer simply is that I own so many cooking gizmos and gadgets that I just never got around to buying one. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t because after developing this recipe for semifreddo, you don’t need one. If you have never had semifreddo before, this is something you really need to make…no really…if you don’t make any other recipe that I share with you, please promise me that you will make this one.

For those of you who have never had this delightful dessert before, semifreddo is an Italian word that means semi frozen. The recipe is basically a frozen custard that tastes just like the richest ice cream or the thickest frozen mousse that you have ever had. The reason for this is that it is made with egg yolks. Many of you may be worried because of the raw yolks, but don’t be…my recipe has you heat the yolks over a double boiler while whisking them, essentially ‘pasteurizing’ them, and then allows them to completely cool before folding in the whipped cream. I topped mine with a little Italian meringue for a fancy dinner party I had for some friends, but you can just dust it with some cocoa powder if you prefer, or top with some fresh fruit. This is an amazing dessert and one that your friends and family will request often…I guarantee that.

6 yolks
¼ cup powdered sugar (add in to yolks)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1-2 Tablespoon Cognac (1 used 1 tablespoon)
1 split vanilla bean (about ¼ teaspoon of paste)
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 Heath Bar, chopped into very small pieces

First, add the cream and the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer and whip until the cream is firm, and refrigerate. Break the toffee pieces into your food processor and chop them into small pieces, then set aside. Separate the yolks and put them into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the other 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and whip with the yolks right away. Add the extracts, the vanilla paste from inside of the bean, the cognac and set the bowl over a double boiler with slowly simmering water. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water or it will cook the yolks. Whip this mixture for approximately 10 minutes, continually whipping the mixture until it begins to lighten in color and takes on a little volume. Put your finger into the yolks and feel the temperature — they should be very warm. At this point, remove from the double boiler and attach it to the machine with a wire whisk and beat it until it is pale yellow and cool. Next, fold in the whipped cream and toffee pieces and transfer the mixture into serving dishes of your choice. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results. The texture of the semifreddo is very delicate, smooth and creamy, and can be molded into different shapes…however it does not get extremely hard.  If you are going to mold them into shapes that you will invert onto a plate, I recommend using silicone molds that have been lightly oiled, so that the ice cream can pop out easily.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar heather February 12, 2011 at 12:57 p

I’ve got an ice cream maker and I don’t use it. But I think you get excellent results making icy confections the really old-fashioned way.

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet February 12, 2011 at 8:30 p

This is an absolutely delicious recipe…perfect for anytime!

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