Cold and frozen desserts get more and more relevant as summer begins. We want to finish our meals with something refreshing! This chocolate semifreddo with praline es delicious; really chocolatey with bits of salted caramel.
A Semifreddo is an Italian dessert that you freeze and can be made with many different flavours. “Semifreddo” means semi-frozen, and it earns its name because it’s not completely frozen. To prevent it from being rock-solid, we add air to the mix, just like with ice cream. And because this one also has chocolate in it, it has the mouthfeel of a chocolate mousse. If you like semifreddos you NEED to try my mango and raspberry semifreddo that you can find on my Recipes in one hour or less ebook and also my Christmas semifreddo.
Besides making a chocolate semifreddo, I also added almond and hazelnut praline. In that post for praline, you can find step by step photos on how it’s made. The only difference between that version and this one is that this one has a bit of salt. The contrast of the salty caramel and the chocolate is just perfect. You can use any nut for the praline. I used half almonds and half hazelnuts, but it can be just one type as well: walnuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.
To thicken the chocolate Semifreddo, we use a paté a bombe, which is like a yolk meringue. It’s the same method that we use to thicken the chocolate mousse and also the lucuma mousse. The result is an airy mix that has a really smooth mouthfeel. It’s a very useful technique to know because it’s very versatile and can be handy when developing new recipes.
For the praline
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 100 g nuts I used half almonds, half hazelnuts
- ½ tsp salt
For the semifreddo
- 4 egg yolks
- 60 ml water
- 60 g granulated sugar
- 250 ml whipping cream cold (whip it with 4 tbsp icing sugar if you're skipping the raisins)
- 150 g dark chocolate I used 65% cacao
For the praline
- *WARNING* Caramel, even though it might not look like it, is really hot. Be careful not to burn yourself and keep kids away while you make it.
- Mix the nuts with the salt, reserve.
- For the caramel, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on the pan. Make sure that the pan is really clean before you start; if it has impurities or fat, it will crystalize the caramel. It helps also if your pan is of a light colour so you can see the caramel as it becomes darker. Place the pan over medium heat.
- When you see that the sugar is starting to melt around the edges and in other parts of the pan, lower the heat to medium-low and sprinkle more sugar over the melted regions, also in a thin layer. Don't use a utensil to stir at any point. If you need to give it a mix, do so by tilting and spinning the pan from the handle.
- The caramel will continue to melt. Control the heat so that it doesn't burn and if you need to stir do so with the handle of the pan.
- Once melted and golden, add your nuts and mix immediately. Transfer the caramel with the nuts carefully onto a silicone mat or silpat or greased pan.
- Let it cool down completely and then chop it up or process it.
For the semifreddo
- Melt the chocolate. I melted it in 30-second intervals in the microwave, mixing between intervals. You can also melt it in a bain marie over low heat.
- Line a 22x11cm loaf pan with baking paper. Cut it to the size of the pan and stick it in place with a bit of vegetable oil, spread with kitchen paper.
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl to beat them and start beating on low speed just so that they don't form a dry skin on top.
- Boil the water and sugar over medium heat. Let the sugar dissolve completely and then boil profusely. Once you reach that point (the syrup doesn't have to thicken), start beating the egg yolks on high speed and add the syrup down the side of the bowl.
- Keep beating the egg yolks on high speed until the mix increases in volume and cools down to room temperature. Mix in the melted chocolate using a spatula and folding motions.
- In a clean bowl, whip up the cream until foamy and glossy, not totally firm. Mix it with the egg yolk mix using folding motions. Also, add in half the praline in the same manner.
- Pour the mix into the pan and freeze for at least 8 hours.
- To serve, flip it over and place the rest of the praline on top. In the semifreddo is too solid, give it a few minutes before slicing.