I’m a big fan of semifreddos. They are the perfect answer to homemade ice cream for those that don’t own an ice cream maker. They’re super easy and a great make ahead dessert. Even though I do have an ice cream maker I find that I veer towards semifreddos a lot more than traditional ice cream – they are a dessert within themselves, a whole package and don’t require anything else to go along side. Not to mention that due to my small freezer I need to know a couple of days in advance of when I want to make ice cream so I can freeze the bowl, and I am never that organised! This particular semifreddo has become a favourite. Not only do the toffee encrusted nuts adorning the semifreddo make for great presentation but there’s something very addictive about the combination of crunchy nuts and creamy ice cream. You can swap out the almonds for another type of nut, macadamia’s in particular work well.
Ingredients – Serves 6-8
225g (1 cup) white sugar
80ml (1/3 cup) water
200g unsalted almonds – macadamia nuts also work well
4 egg yolks
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
600ml thickened cream
30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing sides to overhang. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the white sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, occasionally brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Reduce heat to low. Add the nuts and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until nuts are well coated in toffee mixture. Pour over the lined tray. Set aside for 15 minutes or until the toffee is set. Coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, use an electric beater to whisk eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Place over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and continue whisking for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thick and pale. Remove from heat and whisk for a further 2 minutes or until cool.
Use an electric beater to whisk together the cream and cocoa powder in a bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the egg mixture, chocolate and one-third of the nut mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 6 hours or until set.
Remove the semifreddo from the freezer and set aside for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining macadamia mixture to serve.