Another day for the Sunday Slow Bakers selection. As has been for the last couple of months, the selection again comes from Gina De Palma's Dolce Italiano. When I first bought this cookbook, I saw the photo for this dessert and couldn't wait to make it. I love chocolate, and I think the combination of chocolate with orange is one of the best. So how could you go wrong with a frozen concoction of chocolate, tangerine juice, mascarpone cheese and heavy cream? And to top it all off, a chocolate tangerine sauce!
There were no tangerines at my store, so I used mandarin oranges. This worked just fine, as would regular oranges. Be sure to garnish with the chopped pistachios-use the salted ones-the salty crunch of the nuts added a lot. I used a very high percentage bittersweet chocolate. I don't remember what percentage, as I had bought a bulk piece. While I loved it in the semifreddo, next time I would use a semi-sweet chocolate in the sauce. The sauce is not very sweet at all, and unless you really love a very dark, almost bitter chocolate, you might find this too much. Some Sunday Slow Bakers found their sauce was extremely thin, but that was not the case with mine at all. I'm already thinking about lots of varieties of this semifreddo you could make-what comes to mind the most is using pureed raspberries in place of the orange juice/zest, framboise instead of the Triple Sec and amaretto, and with fresh berries as the garnish.
Here are photos as the semifreddo is being made:
MELTING THE CHOCOLATE, COCOA POWDER, SUGAR & TANGARINE JUICE TOGETHER
FOLDING THE EGG YOLK MIXTURE INTO THE CHOCOLATE MIXTURE
FOLDING THE COOKIE CRUMBS INTO THE CHOCOLATE MIXTURE
FOLDING THE WHIPPED CREAM/MASCARPONE INTO CHOCOLATE MIXTURE
SPREADING THE SEMIFREDDO IN THE PAN
UNMOLDING SEMIFREDDO-as you can see, I lined my loaf pan with plastic wrap. So when I unmolded, I just had to peel the wrap off. No setting the pan in hot water to melt the surface, or worries about sticking.
CHOCOLATE TANGERINE SEMIFREDDO (semifreddo di cioccolato e mandarino)
Makes 6-8 servings
For the Semifreddo:
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons amaretto
4 large egg yolks
4 ounces chocolate wafer cookies, ground (such as Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers)
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup mascarpone
Chopped pistachios, for garnish
For the Chocolate Tangerine Sauce:
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons Triple Sec or other orange-flavored liqueur
To make the semifreddo: Zest the tangerines and squeeze them. Reserve 3/4 cup juice and set the zest aside.
Place the chocolate, cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, and tangerine juice in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will bubble and then begin to thicken; continue cooking until it is almost the consistency of pudding, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the tangerine zest and amaretto. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat together the egg yolks and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar on medium speed until light-colored and thick, about 2 minutes. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the chocolate wafer crumbs.
Clean the bowl and the whisk attachment and whip the heavy cream with the mascarpone at high speed until it is thick and softly peaking. Gently fold the cream mixture into the chocolate mixture.
Pour the semifreddo into a loaf pan or another freezable container and press plastic wrap on the surface. Freeze for at least 6 hours, or until firm.
Before serving, make the chocolate tangerine sauce: Zest the tangerine and squeeze it until you have 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice.
Place the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Pour in the boiling water and allow the ingredients to sit for 30 seconds, then whisk them together until smooth. Whisk in the heavy cream, corn syrup, tangerine zest, Triple Sec, and tangerine juice.
To Serve: Scoop the semifreddo into individual bowls, or unmold then whole semifreddo by dipping the pan in hot water and inverting it over a plate and then slice it into portions with a hot thin-bladed knife. Drizzle each serving with some of the warm sauce and sprinkle with chopped pistacios.
The sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Before serving, heat in the microwave or the top of a double boiler.