As you may know if you've happened to skim over the 'About Me' part of this blog, I've worked as a pastry chef, and I have to say that the thing I miss most and really struggle to make outside of the confines of a professional kitchen is ice cream. In the restaurant, I had a massive industrial type ice cream churner, and made freshly churned ice creams and sorbets every day, which were beyond delicious. We had chocolate, vanilla, tonka bean, pistachio, coconut, raspberry, pear, passion fruit, coffee...the list is endless, and each one was smooth and soft, set but yielding, and utterly irresistable.
After I left, I really missed freshly made ice cream so I bought a do-it-yourself-at-home gadget for churning ice cream. It's a fairly teeny little device that holds a litre of ice cream, and churns while in the freezer, working off a battery. Sounds great huh? Well, take my advice - don't bother wasting your money on one. Seriously. It made patchy uneven ice cream, some parts frozen, some still liquid, with ice crystals all the way through it. Not delicious.
So what's a girl with an ice cream craving to do? Good old Rachel Allen to the rescue again, I found a recipe for semifreddo in her book Home Cooking, a resident life saver in my kitchen, and it was a real success.
3 eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
500ml double cream
200g dark chcolate, finely chopped
Line a loaf tin with 2 layers of cling film, with plenty extra over the sides so that you can fold it over to cover the semifredo when freezing.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until you have soft peaks.
In yet another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks.
Gently fold the cream into the yolks and sugar, then fold the egg whites into the mixture, being careful not to knock out the air you've whisked in.
Sprinkle a third of the chopped chocolate into the bottom of the loaf tin, then pour on half of the semifreddo mix. Then sprinkle a second third of the chocolate on top of this, then the remaining semifreddo mix, anf finally the last of the chocolate.
Fold the cling film over the top so that it's all covered, then freeze for at least 6 hours.
To go along with this, Rachel suggests a hot chocolate sauce, a pretty fine suggestion if you ask me!
Hot Chocolate Sauce
75g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml double cream
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, then whisk in the cream to give a smooth sauce.
The trick is here to have the cream and chocolate as close in temperature as possible before combining them, so let the chocolate cool, a bit after melting, and don't have the cream fridge cold.
This is a really delicious alternative to ice cream, and it softens so beautifully when it's been out of the freezer a few minutes. It doesn't melt exactly, but becomes the semifreddo it's meant to be - half frozen. It has a firm texture, but the smooth creaminess really comes through and is utterly beautiful...and dangerously moreish! Perfect for a dessert after a fairly heavy meal as portions are flexible and the whipping keeps it fairly light, and is a great standby to have in the freezer if you have people over at short notice and need a delicious pudding!!