Hazelnut Semifreddo Recipe
A decadent yet simple dessert that is perfect for those hot summer nights.
Makes 1 loaf pan
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 2 hours, plus overnight freezing
for the hazelnut amaretti:
7 ounces|200 grams peeled and blanched hazelnuts
2 ½ ounces|75 grams confectioners’ sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 teapsoon kosher salt
½ cup|100 grams white granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
for the cocoa syrup:
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar|
1/4 cup glucose
kosher salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
espresso, to taste
for the semifreddo:
3 cups|700 ml heavy cream
5 ounces|150 grams amaretti cookies, roughly chopped
1/3 cup|100 grams cocoa sauce
8 ounces|225 grams hazelnut praline (or a nut butter like nutella)
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Make the cookies: Heat the oven to 350°F. On a clean sheet tray, toast the hazelnuts until deeply golden and fragrant, shaking the tray occasionally so they color evenly. Let cool completely then grind up in a food processor until the size of coarse breadcrumbs-- as fine as you can go without the nuts becoming a paste. Turn out hazelnuts into a large bowl. Sift the powdered sugar on top, and whisk to combine.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip up room temperature egg whites until foaming and starting to turn white. Gradually stream in the sugar and salt while the mixer is running at high speed until it is all added. Let the mixer whip on high until the meringue is glossy and holds medium-stiff peaks. Stream in the vanilla extract and whip to combine.
3. Turn out the meringue into the bowl with the nut mixture. Using a large spatula, gently fold the meringue into the sugared nuts, being careful not to deflate the meringue. On a large sheet tray set with parchment and non stick cooking spray, portion the amaretti onto the baking sheet, using an ice cream scoop or small spoon. Let rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Bake, rotating half way through, until just baked through, about 15 minutes. The cookies should have a slightly crisp edge but feel very chewy. (They get even chewier as they age or are frozen.)
4. Make the cocoa syrup: Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until emulsified, glossy, and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in extracts if using and express shot if using. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.
5. Assemble the semifreddo: In a large, wide bowl, whisk cold heavy cream until holding a very stiff peak. Set aside and chill.
6. In a medium sized bowl, combine the yolks, bourbon, vanilla, salt, and sugar. Whisk vigorously without stopping agitation, otherwise the sugar and alcohols cook the the proteins in the raw egg.
7. Place bowl over a small saucepan filled with an inch of steaming hot water. Whisk the yolk mixture in your double boiler set up until the yolks have lightened up in color, doubled in volume, and look glossy and thick. The mixture should feel warm to the touch, dip your pinkie tip into the bowl to test for the temperature.
8. Remove the bowl from heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is back down to room temperature. Add the hazelnut praline / nut spread and whisk to combine. Mixture should be super thick and slightly stiff.
7. Turn out the nut/yolk mixture into the bowl with the whipped cream. Sprinkle the cookies on top. Using only several folding motions, use a spatula to begin to fold the hazelnut cream and cookies into the whip. Stop after a few folds and use a small spoon to drizzle the cocoa sauce on top of the mixture. Continue to fold, stopped while it’s only halfway mixed. To get the pretty swirled effect in the terrine, the mixture MUST be only halfway mixed. Better to stop earlier than you think, as the motion of turning out the semi freddo into a mold will also continue to mix it together.
8. Carefully pour the semifreddo into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Wrap tightly in plastic and let freeze overnight, or at least 12 hours.
9. When ready to serve, carefully remove semi freddo from mold onto a cold cutting board. Peel off the plastic and portion with a hot, clean knife. Place onto a chilled plate, sprinkle surface with grey salt, and serve with more spoonfuls of cocoa sauce.