Dark Chocolate Raspberry Semifreddo

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Almost every family has a story about making homemade ice cream in the summer.  In Sweet Husband's family, they tell tales of making any kid who wanted to eat ice cream take a fair turn at turning his grandparents' hand-cranked machine.  In my family, my grandfather insisted on doing it himself, and was meticulous about ensuring that the chocolate chips were evenly distributed.

Until a few years ago, though, our little family didn't have an ice cream maker.  Fortunately, if you're in the same boat, there are still several options for homemade frozen treats.  One of those options is semifreddo.  

Italian for “half-frozen”, semifreddo is typically made by mixing a custard base with whipped cream.  While it will eventually form ice crystals if left in the freezer for too long, if eaten in a timely manner semifreddo has the smooth texture of frozen mousse.

While you can experiment with your own add-ins, I recommend taking advantage of raspberry season with the dark chocolate and raspberry combination below.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Semifreddo

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 10-ounce bag dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups raspberries, plus a handful for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions

Begin by washing the raspberries.  Place them in a small bowl and sprinkle the sugar on top.  Leave them to macerate while you complete the other steps.

Now make the custard.  Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla to a heat proof bowl.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the eggs look pale, thickened, and doubled in volume.  This should take about 5-6 minutes.  Set the custard aside to cool slightly.

Using a stand or hand mixer, next whip the cream.  Whisk on medium speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.  Make sure the cream is nice and cold when you start whipping it or it won't hold the air properly.

Last, melt the chocolate.  While you can melt chocolate in a double boiler, I typically just do it in the microwave.  Let the microwave run for 30 seconds at a time and stir well between each interval.

Now gently fold the whipped cream into the custard until it's well incorporated.  You may end up with a few lumps of whipped cream that don't want to separate out, but that's ok.  Continuing to work gently, fold in the melted chocolate as well.

Now that all of your pieces are ready, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Pour the raspberries in first to make a single layer on the bottom of the pan.  Then pour in the custard/cream/chocolate mixture.  Carefully cover the top and freeze overnight.

When you're ready to serve the semifreddo, invert the loaf pan on a serving platter and press a hot, damp dishtowel over the bottom and sides to loosen it.  Cut the semifreddo into slices and garnish with fresh raspberries to serve.