Friday, 23 March 2007

Rich Chocolate Semifreddo

There comes a time when you have to draw the line. I have a popcorn maker, a juicer and almost as many sandwich grills as fingers. Most of these appliances haven't seen the light of day in years. Accordingly I refuse to buy an ice cream maker so thank goodness for semifreddo. All you need is a stove and a freezer. Simple.

Rich Chocolate Semifreddo

This is not so much rich in the sense of artery clogging ingredients (although it has those too!) but rich in terms of the depth of chocolate flavour. Make sure you take this out a good 20 minutes before you intend to serve, perhaps less on a summer day. Semifreddo should only ever be partially frozen. That way you can enjoy the delicate moussey texture that sets this apart from your standard supermarket tub.

100g dark 85% chocolate (no less please!)
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
dash of vanilla
1 1/4 cups single cream
2-3 tbsp chocolate or coffee liqueur ( I supplemented mine with the spicy poaching liquid from this) to add another layer of flavour
half a cup white or dark chocolate bits or raspberries (optional)

Melt the chocolate until smooth by your preferred method. In a saucepan, double boiler or even the microwave. I think if you're using good chocolate it deserves the heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water method. Don't let the water touch your bowl and be vigilant with taking it off as soon as it is smooth and melted. Allow to cool and then fold through the liqueur.

Place the egg, yolks, vanilla and sugar in another heatproof bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Whisk for 5 minutes until you have a thick and pale mixture. Please don't fear if nothing happens for the first 4.5 minutes. The last thirty seconds will be magic.

Whip the bowl off and beat until cool. About 5 minutes with an electric mixer or 10 minutes for those who like a hand whisking workout. I fall into the latter group.

Fold through the melted chocolate mixture and the raspberries or chocolate bits if using and set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the cream until soft peaks form. Even by hand this doesn't take long and is strangely satisfying.

Fold the chocolate egg mixture through the cream. Line a loaf tin with cling wrap and baking paper for easy plating later. Pour the mixture into your tin and cover. A good bowl licking usually happens at this stage. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until firm. You can lift it out easily by pulling out the baking paper and then peeling it off.

To serve allow to soften for 10-20 minutes and serve in slices with a drizzle of melted chocolate or berries.