Semifreddo is the popular Italian way to semi-frozen desserts. Although many people might see this treat as a recent phenomenon, Bernardo Buontalenti was crowned creator of gelato and semifreddo during the Italian Renaissance. Join Giorgia Milanesio in the kitchen as she recreates this indulgent dessert, using modern upgrades to achieve a delicious Hazelnut Semifreddo.
Hazelnuts are esteemed produce in Italy, especially from the culinary paradise Piedmont. Their nutty essence is what drives this semifreddo to be a decadent treat, mellowed with cream and melted chocolate. Piedmont is also responsible for the famous Nutella, an adored hazelnut spread that thickens this dessert and gives it an indulgently smooth finish. Serve this treat on a warm summer's day or as a dinner party dessert, either way its cool, chocolate-hazelnut creaminess will satisfy any sweet-tooth.
Serves 4/6 - Cook in 20 minutes plus overnight to chill in the fridge
- 250ml cold heavy cream
- 3 eggs, separated
- 100g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- 80g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Nutella
- Unsweetened cocoa powder or melted chocolate (optional)
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick and creamy. Mix in the chopped hazelnuts and Nutella. Place the egg whites (at room temperature) in a bowl and begin to whisk until stiff peaks form; you can either use a hand whisk or electric mixer. Beat the heavy cream in a separate bowl, making sure that it’s cold and kept in the refrigerator until the last minute.
Using a spatula gently fold the stiff egg whites in the hazelnut mix, followed by the heavy cream. Transfer the mixture into a loaf pan, or if you want to make single-portions, into small aluminium containers. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze overnight.
When serving, take the semifreddo out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Before serving, turn the semifreddo out onto a plate (or individual plates) and top with unsweetened cocoa powder or melted chocolate. Buon Appetito!