Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo
Do you like those slushy, cold drinks that Starbucks sells? I believe Mocha Frappuccino is the name? Those, along with the hot chocolate, are the only drinks I enjoy from Starbucks. I know, I know, I’m in the minority. In any case, this dessert tastes like one of those drinks, spread over an Oreo cookie crust and popped into the freezer. In other words, absolutely freaking delicious. Now I had heard of semifreddo before and have even watched Giada DeLaurentiis make a couple, but I wasn’t sure what exactly classified a particular frozen dessert as a semifreddo, so I did some Googling. According to Wikipedia:
Semifreddo (Italian for “half cold”) is a class of semi-frozen desserts,
typically ice cream cakes, semi-frozen custards, and certain fruit tarts.
It also refers to an ice cream sandwich, in which the bread
is a lightly toasted croissant. It has the texture of frozen mousse.
This definitely qualifies as a semi-frozen custard and certainly has the texture of a frozen mousse.
Annie and I had planned on making this recipe waaaay back last summer, but we somehow got sidetracked and never did it. Well, good things come to those who wait, and this is definitely a good thing. It does require a number of steps: making the crust, making the custard, mixing cream cheese and cream, heating egg whites, whipping egg whites, lots of folding… and finally freezing. Ironically, even though it required a number of steps, it didn’t seem as though it took very long to put together, maybe an hour at most.
Notes on the recipe:
♦ I cut this recipe into ¼ and made it in a miniature 4-inch springform pan.
♦ The original recipe calls for mascarpone cheese, rather than cream cheese. I just couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on mascarpone when my gut told me that cream cheese would be just as good. And it was, it added a fabulous flavor. Plus I already knew I liked the coffee/cream cheese combination from making the Coffee-and-Espresso Layered Cheesecake, and it was just as good this time around.
♦ The egg whites seemed to take forever to get to 145°F. I was admittedly annoyed. I think next time I will buy pasteurized eggs that have already been heated to that temperature remove bacteria. This is what I did when I made Tiramisu that required raw eggs.
♦ I’m messy when I drizzle chocolate, I think it’s more fun that way.
♦ Serving this with a raspberry coulis would be scrumptious. Unfortunately, I just thought of that this very second. Ahh, hindsight!
1 Year Ago: Eclairs and Cream Puffs
Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo
For the crust:
1¾ cup chocolate cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the semifreddo:
3 ounces espresso
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Kahlua or coffee liquor
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Over a double boiler, whisk together the yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar until it is pale yellow and thick. Add espresso, Kahlua, and vanilla. Place over simmering water and whisk continuously and vigorously until liquid coats the back of a spoon and the mixture is thick and foamy.
4. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and continue stirring until cooled.
5. In a separate bowl, stir together the cream cheese and heavy cream until smooth. Do not overstir.
6. Place egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Gently whisk together over a simmering double boiler until it reaches 145°F. Remove from the heat and set the bowl on the mixer with the balloon whisk attachment. Whip on medium high until stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed to medium and mix until the bowl is cool to the touch.
7. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture until there are no streaks left.
8. Fold ¼ of the meringue (egg white mixture) into the chocolate-cream cheese mixture. Fold in the remaining meringue in three parts. Do not overmix.
9. Spread the mixture over the baked crust in the pan. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
10. When ready to serve, run a warm, dry knife around the sides of the pan, then loosen and remove the sides of the pan. Decorate with a drizzle of melted chocolate and fresh berries, if desired. Serve cold and cut slices with a warm, dry knife.