Make-ahead desserts are the key to a great dinner party. I absolutely adore serving homemade ice cream to guests, but ever since making ice cream from scratch with an ice cream churner, I put it in the ‘done that, don’t need to do it again’ pile.
I’ve certainly not stopped making ice cream, in fact I make it a lot. But ever since my ‘authentic’ ice cream escapade, I’ve subscribed to the no-churn method that uses condensed milk and cream. Sure, churned ice cream is much creamier in consistency, but for me, less effort outweighs the benefit of extra creaminess.
A semifreddo falls somewhere between both methods, and it is perfection when entertaining. It doesn’t require churning and makes an impressive centerpiece dessert. Semifreddo literally means “half cold” in Italian, and its texture is categorised as that of creamy frozen mousse.
In this version, I’m kicking the decadence of dessert up a notch and making a Nutella version (because who doesn’t love Nutella?), layered with a quick homemade butterscotch. It is so good, that it caused a lactose-intolerant friend to throw caution to the wind and has been requested as an annual birthday treat by my fiancé.
Nutella and salted butterscotch semifreddo
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Freezing time: 360 mins
Ready in: 6 hrs 35 mins
Quick salted butterscoth
- 60g unsalted butter
- 100g dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (125ml) thickened cream
- 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 whole egg
- 5 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 475ml thickened cream
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- To make the butterscotch, heat a medium heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add butter, and when melted, add sugar, cream and salt, whisking until well combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes, whisking regularly. After 5 minutes remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature to cool completely.
- For the semifreddo, combine the whole egg, yolks, sugar and vanilla bean paste in a metal bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (ensuring that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water). Use a hand whisk or electric beaters to beat until the mixture thickens and your whisk or beater leaves a trail (about 10 minutes for a hand whisk or 6-8 minutes for electric beaters). Remove from the heat and place in the fridge to cool a little.
- In a large bowl whisk the cream for 5-6 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Remove the cooled egg mixture from the fridge and stir in the Nutella ensuring it is well mixed. Gently fold the Nutella and egg mixture through the whipped cream to combine, ensuring you don’t knock too much air out of the cream.
- Line a 2 litre-capacity tin well with plastic wrap, smoothing out as many folds as possible and ensuring you have plenty overhanging the sides so you can fold over the semifreddo. Spoon one-third of the semifreddo mixture into the tin and level it out using a offset spatula or the back of a large metal spoon. Drizzle roughly 3 tablespoons of the butterscotch. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with the butterscotch. You should have roughly 3 tablespoons of butterscotch left – keep this in the fridge ready to serve with the semifreddo.
- Cover the semifreddo with the plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
- To serve, pull the semifreddo out of the tin using the plastic wrap, then invert the semifreddo onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic wrap and drizzle with salted butterscotch.
This butterscotch sauce is also great on ice cream, pancakes and waffles. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or so. Just reheat in short bursts in the microwave, stirring between bursts, to bring it back to a pourable consistency.
Amanda Michetti started the Italian-led recipe blog Chew Town five years ago. Its aim is to both document her family's recipes and show readers that great food deserves to taste delicious, look great and be simple enough for everyone to try. In recent times, Amanda has left her day job and now works as a freelance food photographer and recipe developer with her work showcased here.