With a few bars of that wicked good stuff in my hot little hands, I left the shop. Both my mind and my heart were racing a little bit. I knew just what I was going to make for my terrine entry – a torrone semifreddo!
Now, delicious as this would be on its own, I also felt that I needed to have another layer on my terrine, for a contrast of color and texture. This second layer should also contain some kind of nuts, and should preferably be Italian in nature. Well, I had two jars of Nutella sitting in my Bermuda Triangle of a pantry, so I decided to break out one and make a chocolate – hazelnut semifreddo too. I mean, what could be more quintessentially Italian than Nutella? I decided to call my creation Torronutella Semifreddo Terrine. Pretty catchy, huh? Believe me, it sounds a lot more aristocratic than it really is!
Essentially, what I did was make both recipes independently and freeze them together to form the terrine. I prepared the torrone semifreddo first and let it freeze up overnight. The next day, I made the chocolate-hazelnut version, spread it over the frozen torrone layer and froze it again. I wasn’t able to find hazelnuts anywhere, so I used roasted pistachio nuts instead. Crushed pistachios are commonly used in all kinds of Italian pastries, so I felt okay with that.
In order to ensure pain-free unmolding, I lined the mold with plastic wrap that hung over the sides. That way, I could just lift the terrine out in one sinfully sweet, chunky, creamy hunk of frozen heaven. I dressed the terrine up with a little chocolate sauce for the pictures, but it really didn’t need it. Both of the layers harmonized beautifully together and it was marvelous on its own!
- 6 ounces hard Italian torrone, with almonds
- 6 eggs
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- A pinch of salt1/2 cup carmelized almonds (1/2 cup sliced almonds and 2 tbsp. sugar)
- Line a a freezable loaf pan with a long sheet of plastic wrap, making sure that it hangs over the sides at least 3 inches. Set aside.
- In a small saute pan, add almonds and 2 tbsp. sugar. Saute over high heat until sugar starts to caramelize and the almonds are toasted. Spread out in the bottom of the terrine mold. Set aside.
- Use a sturdy chopping knife to cut the nougat into small pieces, then grind it to a granular consistency in the food processor.
- Separate the eggs, keeping only four of the whites. Pour the yolks into a mixing bowl, adding all the sugar. Whip them until they form a foamy mass.
- In another bowl, preferably a chilled steel one, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
- Add the whipped cream, the rum, and the ground nougat to the beaten egg yolks, mixing well to distribute all the ingredients uniformly.
- In a clean bowl, whip the four reserved egg whites together with a pinch of salt until they also form stiff peaks. Fold them gently into the egg yolk, cream, and nougat batter.
- Pour the mixture into the mold, cover with the overhang of plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for at least 8 hours or overnight.
For the Chocolate-Hazelnut Semifreddo:
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 jar Nutella, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
- 1 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
- 1/2 cup roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
- Heat Nutella in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to soften it up. Set aside.
- Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are warm, about 2 minutes.
- Place the bowl in mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
- Add two thirds of the Nutella and mix on low speed until blended. Gently fold in whipped cream and chopped hazelnuts.
- Scrape mixture into into the mold and spread evenly over the torrone layer. Spoon remaining third of the Nutella lengthwise down center of the mold letting it sink into semifreddo.
- Cover top of pan with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- To serve, lift the terrine out of the mold using the plastic wrap overhang. If the terrine sticks, place the mold on a dish towel soaked in very hot water for a minute or two. This should soften the terrine a bit and make it easier to unmold.
- Cut the semifreddo into 1 inch slices and serve on dessert plates with the garnish of your choice.