For the uninitiated, a semi freddo is a “half-frozen” dessert, made of egg yolks and sugar and cream and is my idea of a very good time. It is like ice cream but it is easy. It is like pudding or mousse, but it is cold. And it is creamy and velvety, and if flavored with tahini and studded with mini chocolate chips, just downright scrumptious.
Although there are several ways to assemble a semi freddo, this particular recipe calls for only a handful of ingredients and requires no heavy lifting. To start, you make a simple tahini whipped cream with a little sugar and salt, to bring out both the sweet and the salty of the sesame seeds. Some semi freddos calling for tahini have you fold it in later in the process, but I find that it incorporates best if you whip it along with the heavy cream. Yolks and sugar are then warmed on the stovetop and beaten until ribbon-y in a stand mixer. Once cooled, they are folded into the whipped cream along with some mini chocolate chips and transferred to a loaf pan (though you could portion it out into ramekins, if you were feeling that whole cutesy-pie, individual dessert thing).
After a 6 to 8 hour stint in the freezer, slices of the “freddo” are served with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, perhaps, or a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. If tahini is not your thing, you could substitute peanut butter – or leave it out altogether and perhaps add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla to the whipped cream, instead, leaving you with a pretty fab straight-up chocolate-chip semi freddo. Bottom line: it is adaptable, easy (despite its fancy Italian name), “make-ahead,” and a refreshing crowd-pleaser, I promise.
Tahini Chocolate Chip Semifreddo
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup tahini stirred until smooth
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 yolks
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cream, confectioners’ sugar, tahini and salt together on medium to medium high speed until medium peaks form. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
- Clean the stand mixer bowl. Add the yolks and sugar to the clean bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the yolks and granulated sugar together until the sugar melts, and the mixture is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and return it to the stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the yolks and sugar on medium high until cooled, light and ribbon-y, about 5 minutes. Gently fold the yolks into the whipped cream. Add the chips and fold them in as well.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and freeze for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.
- Invert the semifreddo onto a platter and slice.