The almond semifreddo, also called almond parfait, is a typical Sicilian and more specifically a Palermo sweet ice cream.
Based on eggs, cream, and almonds, the semifreddo is decorated with an enchanting pouring of hot chocolate that contrasts well with the semifreddo.
This is another dessert that takes me back in time to my childhood. On Sundays, for lunch, and the aunts invited everyone for lunch and what was commonly brought to their house was this cake purchased in the best pastry shop in the city.
I was anxiously expecting the unpacking of the cake and the fight among the younger kids in order to see who got the bigger slice.
Once I got my slice, I immediately melted at the taste of the semifreddo, just as it was melting on my plate.
The origins of this semifreddo date back to the early 60s and are attributed to two great Sicilian chefs, Francesco Paolo and Salvatore Cascino who served it, during a large reception at the “La Botte” restaurant in Monreale.
Unlike the classic semifreddo, this Sicilian recipe is made with the use of pate à bombe, a mixture of separated eggs pasteurized thanks to the cooked sugar that will allow you to obtain a super creamy dessert even after many hours in the freezer!
The Pate a` bombe consists of cooking sugar and water in a saucepan until it reaches the temperature of 121°C (249.8°F).
If you don’t have a food thermometer, you will understand that the syrup is at a temperature when many bubbles of dense and sticky consistency will form.
- 500 ml whipping cream 2 cups
- 300 g sugar 1 ½ cups
- 4 separated eggs
- 200 g peeled almonds 1 ½ cups
- seeds of vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 60g 30+30 water (4 tbsp = 2+2)
Hot chocolate cream
- 150 ml whipping cream ⅔ cup
- 350 g chocolate 12.35 oz
Put the almonds to toast in a non-stick pan.
After letting them cool, blend them slightly in the mixer, taking care not to reduce them into too small pieces.
Put them back in the pan with 100 grams of sugar, light a lively flame, and let it caramelize, mixing with a wooden spoon.
Put the caramelized almonds on a sheet of parchment paper, trying to separate them from each other and let them cool.
Whip the cream and keep it in the fridge
Pour 100g (8 tbsp) of sugar together with the 30g (2 tbsp) of water into a saucepan and let it simmer until it reaches 121°C (249.8°F).
When it has reached around 115°C (239°F), start whipping the yolks with the vanilla with an electric mixer and once the syrup has reached the temperature of 121°C (249.8°F) pour it flush inside the yolks.
Continue to whisk until completely cooled: you will get a swollen and frothy mixture.
Pour 100g (8 tbsp) of sugar together with the 30g (2 tbsp) of water into a saucepan and let it simmer until it reaches 121°C (249.8°F)
When it reaches around 110°C (230°F), start whipping the egg whites and once the syrup has reached 121°C (249.8°F) pour it flush on the egg whites, continuing to whip until completely cooled.
You will need to get a shiny and white meringue.
Add the meringue a little at a time to the yolks whipped up, stirring constantly from top to bottom, and then exit the whipped cream from the fridge and add it also gradually to the compost, after everything has blended well, add the caramelized almonds, mixing them well, obtaining a homogeneous compost.
Pour it into a plumcake mold (9 x 5 x 2.7-inch deep) previously covered with a sheet of plastic wrap, level it, and place it in the freezer for at least 12 hours.
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