Chocolate Dulce De Leche Semifreddo
I have one word for you folks – Semifreddo. Before we go into what semifreddo is exactly, take a moment to savor the word itself. Let it roll around in your mouth a bit. Semifreddo. Pretty delectable right? Oh and it is my friends, it is. Probably the only thing more delectable than allowing the word to roll around in your mouth is allowing semifreddo itself roll around your mouth.
The Freds discovered semifreddo by accident as it were. We had some extra dulce de leche hanging around from a brownie adventure (which we will post at some point, promise!) and were looking for a delicious way to elevate it. And after an extensive search involving mounds of cookie, brownie and cake recipes we happened upon a recipe for semifreddo. And we loved the name so much we went with it. And man are we glad we did. Because we basically opened up a whole new genre of foods to experiment with.
For those who have never had the pleasure of savoring semifreddo, allow us to introduce you. Semifreddo is like frozen mousse. Imagine the richest mousse you’ve ever had and then imagine that mousse married frozen custard and they had a dessert baby. That is semifreddo. Need we say more? Ok, we will. Because the brilliant thing about semifreddo, aside from its mouth feel and taste, is that it’s a whole genre of dessert. So the flavor possibilities are endless. Like cookies. You can make semifreddo in pretty much any flavor combination your sweets-loving heart desires. Chocolate nutella? Yup. Vanilla toffee crunch? Yup. Cinnamon with oatmeal cookie pieces… ok you get the idea. And so do we, so get ready for a summer full of our semifreddo adventures, starting with Chocolate Dulce De Leche…
Chocolate Dulce De Leche Semifreddo (adapted from the Essential New York Times Cookbook)
Makes one loaf pan, which will serve anywhere from 8-12 depending on how big of a dinner you ate prior to serving!
The only special piece of equipment you need here is a candy thermometer, which if you don’t have can be purchased for around $10 wherever other kitchen goods are sold. Also, please note that if you don’t have a hand mixer and a stand mixer, make the whipped cream in the stand mixer and refrigerate before doing anything else to save your arm a bit of work.
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup dulce de leche
1 tsp. vanilla extract
First, whisk together your egg whites, sugar and salt in a medium bowl that will fit nicely inside one of your pots without touching the bottom. Fill the pot with an inch of water and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Set you egg white mixture over the water (the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water) and place a candy thermometer in the mixture. Heat your egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until it reaches 140 degrees. As soon as your egg whites reach 140 degrees transfer them to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high until the mixture is completely cooled – about 20 minutes.
While your egg whites are cooling, make your whipped cream by combining your vanilla extract and heavy cream and either whisking by hand or with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
While your egg whites continue to cool/be beaten, combine your chocolate and butter over the same pot of hot water you used earlier and cook over medium heat until the chocolate and butter are completely melted – stirring often while heating. Once completely smooth, remove from the heat and stir in a ½ cup of your dulce de leche.
Once your meringue is completely cooled, gently fold your whipped cream into your chocolate mixture. Then fold in your meringue in three batches, adding with the final ¼ cup of dulce de leche to the last few folds. How heavy handed you are in folding depends on your preference – I prefer streaks of meringue to remain, others prefer it entirely incorporated, but don’t over think it, this will taste great no matter what!
Once you’ve finished folding, scrape your semifreddo into a loaf pan, serving bowls or whatever container you wish to freeze it in, cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 12 hours before serving.