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Individual frozen chocolate semifreddo desserts with mascarpone are creamy, cold and luscious treats. Perfect for sharing!
Semifreddo – which literally means “half-cold” in Italian — is a dessert with varied interpretations.
What is semifreddo?
Basically, it’s a creamy frozen mousse, which is sometimes layered with sponge cake or cookies and sometimes flavored with nuts or fresh fruit.
If you love all things cool, creamy and a little indulgent but don’t want to have to go to pastry school to make a special dessert, semifreddo forges a lazy path that might be even better than homemade ice cream.
You get all the benefits of a gelato or frozen custard without hauling out the old ice cream maker.
Well… not so much lazy as it is a savvy shortcut.
Because while there is no churning involved in the making of this recipe, there is some melting (chocolate), whipping (cream) and folding (together) that needs to be done.
Typically, a semifreddo is set in a loaf pan or deep dish and sliced or scooped family style for serving.
Using the mini springform pans makes it simple to unmold, but an 8-inch springform pan works perfectly, too.
More easy beautiful desserts:
- 30 chocolate wafer cookies
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml) melted butter
- 2 tablespoons (90 g) plus ¼ cup sugar
- 4 ounces (125 g) dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) cocoa powder
- 4 egg yolks *
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup (170 g) mascarpone cheese
- Chocolate shavings and freshly whipped cream to garnish
Make the crust:
- Heat oven to 350 ( 175 C) degrees. Pulse the cookies, sugar and salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened and holds together when you pinch it. Press about 2 tablespoons crumbs onto the bottoms of each of four 4 x 1 ¾-inch (or use one 8-inch springform pan). Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake 5 minutes.
Make the filling
- Put 2 tablespoons of the sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the water simmers and sugar is dissolved; add the chocolate and cocoa off the heat and stir until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and cool 10 minutes.
- Beat the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar with an electric mixer and the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light colored and thickened enough to form a ribbon, about 5 minutes. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the cooled chocolate until evenly blended, then transfer to another bowl.
- Wash and dry the mixer bowl. Add the cream and mascarpone and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
- Divide the mixture among the 4 pans (or one 8 inch pan, scrape it all in). Cover pans with plastic wrap and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove semifreddo from the freezer 15-30 minutes before serving, depending on how firm it is. Unmold and serve with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings over the top, if you like.