Semifreddo is a classic dessert of egg custard lightened with whipped cream that I grew up eating around holidays. It has a similar consistency of frozen custard and is very easy to make, despite its fancy nomenclature.
In this case, the base is divided into two parts – one mixed with melted chocolate and chocolate chunks and the other part mixed with chopped pistachios. Once unmolded, it has two beautiful layers, which makes for nice presentation. I serve it with figs and whipped cream, but you could keep it simple and serve it as is.
For this recipe, my KitchenAid® Gas Cooktop is essential. The perfect semifreddo requires precise simmering, and with the Even-Heat™ 10K BTU Torch Burner, delicate simmering is an easy task for this Cooktop.
To make the semifreddo, the chocolate needs to be slowly melted over a water bath on your Gas Cooktop so it doesn’t burn and melts gently. A water bath or bain marie as it’s called in French, is basically a pot with simmering water and a bowl that is placed on top. The KitchenAid® 3.0-Quart Low Casserole is perfect for this step. It has a RapidInduct™ base composed of 3 layers of alloys which maximize its induction performance, making it heat up quickly and maintain a steady temperature to prevent overheating. Which is great, because you definitely do not want to burn your chocolate!
The steam that comes from the simmering water helps melt and heat the contents of the bowl without applying too much heat, which is ideal for the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, lift the bowl away from the 3.0-Quart Low Casserole, making sure none of the condensation or steam gets into the chocolate. Set the bowl aside to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla bean in the bowl from your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, then whisk over the water bath in the 3.0-Quart Low Casserole. Don’t let the sugar sit on top of the eggs without whisking, because the sugar will burn the eggs. It will also help to pasteurize the eggs, melt the sugar, and ensure the yolks are whipped really well later on. Making sure the egg yolks don’t get overcooked in the water bath is really the only tricky part of this recipe. Make sure the water in the 3.0-Quart Low Casserole is simmering and never touching the bowl of your Stand Mixer!
When the eggs have doubled in volume and feel hot to the touch, transfer the bowl back to the Stand Mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whip on high speed until cooled and thick. Pour half of the egg mixture over the melted and cooled chocolate and fold until well incorporated. Transfer the rest of the mixture into a clean bowl and wash out the bowl of your Stand Mixer.
Transfer the clean bowl back to your Stand Mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip heavy cream on a high speed until it is nice and fluffy. Then, fold in the egg mixture and combine until the mixture is tripled in volume and cools.
Once cooled, add half of the whipped eggs mixture to the melted chocolate. Add the chocolate chunks to it and fold gently with a rubber spatula. Then add the pistachios to the remaining egg mixture and fold gently with a clean rubber spatula. Pour the pistachio mixture in a plastic wrap-lined loaf pan and spread evenly. Top with the chocolate mixture, spread evenly, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
Freeze the semifreddo for at least 4 hours or overnight. Unmold by lifting it out of the Loaf Pan and letting it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before attempting to cut slices, as it might be too hard to slice right out of the freezer. A trick to creating clean slices when cutting is to run your sharp knife under hot water and cleaning the blade with a towel after each cut.
Serve it with whipped cream and figs, or simply serve it as is. My favorite consistency of the semifreddo is when it starts to soften a bit so I always wait until I see the edges melting until I start eating it.
I cannot wait for you to try this at home. With a little patience, a delicious semifreddo can easily be served at your next dinner party, or just for a night in with your family.
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Pistachio, Vanilla and Chocolate Crunch Semifreddo
Makes 8 servings
5 ounces (145 g) 70% dark chocolate, chopped and divided
4 large eggs
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 pint (450 ml) heavy whipping cream, plus more for serving
2 ounces (55 g) shelled pistachios, roughly chopped, plus more for topping
8 figs, quartered (optional)
Pinch vanilla salt (optional)
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap on all sides.
Place 4 ounces of chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl (reserve the rest to fold into chocolate base). Fill a KitchenAid® 3.0-Quart Low Casserole about a little less than halfway with water and bring it to a simmer on your Gas Cooktop. Place the bowl with the chocolate over the 3.0-Quart Low Casserole and let the chocolate melt slowly while stirring occasionally. Do not let the water boil too briskly or allow any steam get into the chocolate bowl. Remove the bowl with the melted chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds in the bowl from your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer. Place the mixing bowl over the same water bath you used to melt your chocolate. Heat the egg mixture over simmering heat while whisking consistently. When the eggs have doubled in volume and feel hot to the touch, transfer the bowl back to the Stand Mixer. Fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until cooled and thick. Pour half of the egg mixture over the melted and cooled chocolate and fold until well incorporated. Transfer the rest of the mixture into a clean bowl.
Wash and dry the Stand Mixer bowl. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl and whip with the whisk attachment on high speed until it thickens a bit. Then, fold in the egg mixture and combine until the mixture is tripled in volume and cools.
Pour half of the whipped cream into the chocolate base and the rest into the vanilla base. Fold gently until incorporated while still maintaining its volume.
Fold the remaining chopped chocolate into the chocolate base and the chopped pistachios into the vanilla base. Pour the vanilla base into the prepared Loaf Pan. Spread evenly. Then, pour the chocolate base over the vanilla and gently spread evenly so the separate layers are visible when unmolding. Wrap the top with plastic wrap. Freeze the semifreddo for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the Loaf Pan from freezer and unwrap. Heat a sharp chef’s knife over hot water and slice the semifreddo into 8 portions. Clean the knife in hot water in between slices to keep the cuts nice and clean. Serve with whipped cream, figs, chopped pistachios and vanilla salt.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*