As you probably already know, most of my recipes are heathy and good for you, but this recipe is an exception. While I was home visiting my family, I decided to make my dad one of his favorite desserts- semifreddo stracciatella. Basically, it is Italian for ice cream cake and it is absolutely to die for. This would make the perfect “Happy Birthday,” “I love you,” “I’m Sorry” kind of cake. Give it a try!

I first saw this recipe on Giada’s De Laurentiis‘s  cooking show “Giada at home” on the Food Network. I love watching her because she makes food fun and simple, which is good for people who aren’t use to be in the kitchen. I had the pleasure of meeting Giada at her fabulous restaurant “Giada” in Las Vegas a year ago. She is amazing! Even though I know a thing or two about cooking, baking and pastry isn’t one of my favorites mostly because it requires a lot of exact measurement, temperatures, and processes. However, with this recipe, it is actually quite fun. It is pretty much like making ice cream and who doesn’t love ice cream? With a few minor tweaks, I have made this recipe one of my own and I think you will love it too!

For this recipe you will need:

For the crust:

4 origina biscotti cookies
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 stick butter, melted

For the filling:

8 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz orange liqueur, such as Grand Mariner
1/2 cup Nutella

Special equipment:

Parchment paper
9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan
Food processor
Double boiler

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, allowing excess paper to hang over the edge and sides. *There should be enough excess parchment paper to overlap each other.* Lightly toast the slivered almonds over medium heat in a small pan. You will know when they are ready once you can smell the toasty aroma and see their color change more golden. In a food processor, process the biscotti cookies, toasted almonds, and melted butter. Using a baking spatula or your hands, press the crumb mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the crust are golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool.

For the filling:  In a double boiler or medium stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, and sea salt. *Be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t make contact with the simmering water.*  This is the part you will feel like you are getting a workout in. Whisk the egg mixture until it is pale and thicker in consistency, about 10-15 minutes. Keep on whisking and whisking and whisking. If you aren’t quite sure whether it is ready or not, an instant thermometer should read 160 degrees F. Put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with iced water to cool completely.

In another medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it begins to form soft peaks. Add the orange liqueur and continue to blend until the cream holds stiff peaks. Using 1/4 of the mixture, gently fold into the chilled custard mixture. Continue with 1/4 mixture at a time until both the custard and the cream have been well combined. *Fold with a rubber spatula by starting down the middle and folding over. Turn the bowl as you continue folding to make sure everything is evenly distributed. DO NOT STIR.* Drop spoonfuls of Nutella into the mixture and fold until just incorporated by still chunky.

Pour the mixture over the prepared crust and overlap the excess parchment paper over the custard. Pop into the freezer for at least 8 hours or up to 3 days. To serve:  run a thin blade down the sides of the parchment paper, around the semifreddo. Unfold the paper and invert onto a chilled platter. Peel off the paper and cut into 1-inch thick slices. Serve onto chilled plates. You may garnish your semifreddo with whatever you like- fruit, chocolate sauce, powdered sugar, or just eat as is!

This dessert is so incredibly delicious and you will be so happy and surprised with yourself after preparing it- I know I was! Bon Appetit!


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