There are countless things that I love about summer and ice cream is right up there at the top of my list. Whether you serve it after a meal or indulge yourself in the middle of the afternoon it’s light, cool and refreshing.
This may look like a bowl of ice cream, but it’s actually semifreddo. Semifreddo is an Italian creation whose texture is somewhere between gelato and a frozen mousse. I do have an ice cream maker and usually pull it out once the weather warms up, but for semifreddo you don’t even need one. Prepared in a mixer and frozen in a loaf pan, usually semifreddo is served in slices. This version calls for scooping it into a bowl and topping with whipped cream.
It’s best to take the pan out of the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before you want to serve it. The first time I made it I forgot to do this and it was a little too hard. The next time I did take it out earlier and the texture was creamier and more mousse like. Either way it was a little bit of heaven in a bowl, especially if you are chocolate lover like me.
Dark Chocolate Semifreddo
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
2½ cups heavy cream, divided
3 large egg whites, room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
Combine chocolate, vanilla, and ¼ tsp. salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat 1½ cups cream in a small saucepan over medium until barely simmering. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture and let sit until chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk chocolate mixture until combined and smooth. Chill, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 1 hour.
Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
Meanwhile, cook sugar and ⅓ cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Clip thermometer to the side of saucepan; increase heat to medium. Bring to a boil without stirring and cook until thermometer registers 250°.
Working quickly and with motor running, pour syrup into egg whites in a steady stream, avoiding whisk so syrup doesn’t splatter. Beat until glossy, stiff peaks form (be careful not to overheat).
Using an electric mixer, beat chilled chocolate mixture until soft peaks form. Gently fold in meringue, leaving a few streaks. Scrape into a large loaf pan and cover. Freeze until solid, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
Just before serving, let semifreddo sit at room temperature 15 minutes. Beat remaining 1 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Serve scoops of semifreddo in small bowls with whipped cream.