A semifreddo is a sweet, frozen mousse. You make it almost the exact same way that you would make ice cream, except you don’t need an ice cream maker.
Semifreddo means “half-cold,” or half-frozen, in Italian. I think this is because it contains eggs and whipped cream, so it doesn’t freeze solid into a block of ice, but stays soft and pliable, like ice cream.
You can flavor a semifreddo with almost anything, whether it’s chocolate, nuts, fruit, fruit juice, jam, or nut butter. Depending on what you put in it, you’ll want to whip up your cream and eggs first, and then fold in fresh fruit, chunks of chocolate, or nuts. Alternately, you may want to melt the chocolate and whisk it into the eggs, like in the recipe below, for a smooth texture.
Usually a semifreddo is made in a loaf pan, so that you can easily turn it upside down and tap it out onto a board once it’s frozen. From there, you simply slice it like a loaf of bread. If you want to add a garnish, try anything from diced fresh fruit to coconut flakes to a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
I like making semifreddo because it doesn’t need a lot of sugar to taste good. Because of the richness of the cream, the other flavors come through strongly. Play around with semifreddo recipes, and try reducing the sugar content.
Here is a semifreddo recipe by Rachael (http://bit.ly/zDbB20) that’s low in sugar, and bursting with the flavors of hazelnut and chocolate.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Semifreddo, from Every Day with Rachael Ray
1 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Line the pan with plastic wrap, letting the wrap hang over the short ends by about 1 inch. Freeze until ready to use. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form; cover and refrigerate.
In a double boiler, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed off the heat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Place over simmering water and beat at high speed until almost doubled in volume, about 8 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate-hazelnut spread until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir into the egg mixture until almost blended. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Fold in the nuts; then, working in 3 batches, fold in the whipped cream.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Using the plastic overhang as handles, lift the semifreddo from the pan. Cut into 1-inch slices and serve immediately.
Louisa Shafia is a cook with a passion for healthy eating. She recently penned Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, a collection of seasonal recipes and eco-friendly advice on food. To watch her cooking videos, see her recipes, and find out about her cooking classes, go to lucidfood.com.