Is it ice cream? Is it gelato? No, it’s semifreddo!
Oh my goodness, my fellow dessert enthusiasts, I have become every ounce obsessed with this homemade semifreddo. Don’t have an ice cream machine but want something that is 1. Homemade 2. Ice cream and 3. Super tasty?! Look no farther, it is here!
As I continue my streak of Thanksgiving dessert twists, here, I give you a Pecan Pie Semifreddo—which means semi frozen in Italian. The texture in this semifreddo is that of a slightly frozen mousse, and yes, you do put it in the freezer! The combination of heavy cream to sugar to eggs allows for this ridiculously smooth and creamy dessert that melts in your mouth and doesn’t give you a brain freeze.
How is this anything like a pecan pie? Well, listen up, look at that gorgeous crust, it is packed with pecans, butter and, my favorite, brown sugar. While I love pecan pie and all of its sweetness, this crust has just the right amount of sugar so that you will most definitely be reminded of your old favorite.
To make this semifreddo really pop, I swirled in some homemade duche de leche. This brings up the sweetness level yet does not take away from that simple taste of the egg-heavy cream combination that you worked so hard on!
Who knew that one could be so infatuated with a dessert, let alone this play on pecan pie. But, I most certainly am, and I’m not even a little ashamed! Looking to show up that pecan pie this Thanksgiving? Surprise everyone with an even better pie—a semifreddo! Exploding with pecan goodness and a velvety dulce de leche yumminess, I swear, you’ll be passing out the recipe by the end of the night!
Butter, melted—1.5 oz, or 3 TBL
Graham Cracker Crumbs—2 oz, or ½ C
Brown Sugar—1 oz, or 1/8 C
Pecans, chopped—2 oz, or ½ C
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
Combine all of your ingredients, you want it to have the consistency of wet sand.
Press into the bottom of your pan.
I like to use a tart pan for this. It looks very elegant, and quite pie-like, but using a spring form pan, loaf pan, whatever you choose works just as well!
Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, you will be able to smell the toasting crust.
Remove and allow to cool completely before putting your semifreddo in.
Heavy Cream—12.5 oz, or 1 ½ C
Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C
Begin by whipping your heavy cream in your mixer, or by hand, until medium-stiff peaks form. You will know when this has occurred when you lift the whisk and your whipped cream has a slight curl to the end of it.
Reserve your whipped cream in another bowl in the refrigerator.
Wash and dry your mixing bowl.
Combine the sugar, eggs and egg yolks in your mixing bowl.
Place on top of a small saucepot that has been filled with about an inch of water, making sure that it is not directly touching your bowl.
Turn the burner on low and, with a whisk, constantly whip your egg sugar mixture until the sugar has dissolved—this should be around 120˚ F.
Once you have reached this stage, turn off your burner and put the bowl on your mixer with the whisk attachment.
Whip on medium-high until your eggs have turned a pale yellow and have formed ribbons.
To do the “ribbon test”: when you believe that your eggs have been whipped long enough, stop the mixer and dip the whisk attachment into the batter, go back and forth, making a line with the eggs. If they hold for 3-5 seconds without sinking back into your mixture, then you are good to go!
Now, take the whipped cream from the beginning and fold into your whipped eggs.
How to fold in the cream? First, put a small bit of the whipped cream in to temper, mixing quickly with your spatula, next put into about ½ of your remaining cream. As a chef of mine used to say, “12:00, 6:00, give it a quarter turn,” meaning simply that start with your spatula at 12:00 on your bowl, drag down to 6:00, and give the bowl a quarter turn. Do this until all of the cream is mixed in and is homogenous.
Transfer on top of your crust that has been baked and cooler.
Now, you may either put this in the freezer as is to freeze, or, if you want to add a little extra sweetness, mix in some caramel or dulce de leche! Recipe shown here.
I like to swirl in lots of dulce de leche so that I find yummy pockets in each bite!
Once frozen, remove from your pan, slice and serve.