<i>Semifreddo al Torrone e Cioccolato</i><p> The frozen dessert that Italians make at home is usually a semifreddo, which translates literally as half-cold. It comes by its name because a semifreddo always contains some ingredient such as biscuits, candied fruits, nuts, or ricotta that does not freeze solid and hence does not require the freezing power of an ice cream machine. All it needs is an overnight stay in the freezer.<p> The key ingredient in this semifreddo is <i>torrone,</i> the hard Piedmontese nougat bar made from egg whites and almonds that in northern Italy is an inseparable part of any well-stuffed Christmas basket.
- add 6 ounces hard Italian nougat, <i>torrone,</i> with almonds <br>6 eggs<br>6 tablespoons sugar<br>2 cups heavy whipping cream<br>1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate fragmented into small pieces<br>1 tablespoon dark rum<br>A 2-quart bowl or sligh
- 1. Use a sturdy chopping knife to cut the nougat into small pieces, then grind it to a granular consistency in the food processor.
- 2. Separate the eggs, keeping only four of the whites.
- 3. Pour the yolks into a mixing bowl, adding all the sugar. Whip them until they form a foamy mass.
- 4. In another bowl, preferably a chilled steel one, whip the cream until it is quite stiff.
- 5. Add the whipped cream, the chocolate bits, the rum, and 1 1/4 cup of the ground nougat to the beaten egg yolks, mixing well to distribute all the ingredients uniformly.
- 6. In a clean bowl, whip the four reserved egg whites together with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold them gently into the egg yolk, cream, chocolate, and nougat batter.
- 7. Sprinkle the remaining pulverized nougat on the inside of the 2-quart bowl and over it pour the dessert's batter. Pull a sheet of plastic film tightly over the bowl and place it in the freezer. It is ready to be served the following day, but it will keep, as I have done, a full week.
- 8. When ready to serve, take the bowl from the freezer and remove the plastic film. Choose a plate with a lip whose inner diameter fits comfortably over the opening of the bowl. Soak a dishtowel in very hot water and wrap it around the bowl. Slide the blade of a long, thin knife inside the bowl to loosen the dessert from its sides. Set the plate upside down over the bowl, hold the bowl and plate firmly together, and give them a good shake. You will feel the dessert come away from the bowl and drop onto the serving plate.