Nancy chose this decadently delicious Chocolate and Tangerine Semifreddo for this week's Sunday Slow Bakers. A semifreddo is an Italian semi-frozen dessert. They are sometimes combinations of gelato and cakes or cookies. This one is a frozen custard with almost a mousse-like texture with bits of chocolate cookies mixed in and elegantly garnished with a chocolate sauce and chopped pistachios. There is a distinct tangerine flavor, so if you are partial to the combination of orange and chocolate, you will love this dessert. If you are not partial to the flavors of chocolate and tangerine, you can do what Palma did and substitute the tangerine for a coffee flavor (read the details on her blog).
But what if you are not only partial to the flavor of orange and chocolate but downright love it? Then this dessert will make you very happy. When I first tasted a little sample as I was making it, I was transported to my childhood when my mother would buy little bags of chocolate covered orange peels for us to share while we were shopping. In the earliest days these were bought at the candy counter at Sears. It's hard to imagine now, but back then every Sears had a candy and popcorn counter. In later years, the only place to find chocolate covered orange peels was at a fancy chocolate shop. Chocolate covered orange peels seemed to fall out of fashion. I think they are still hard to find. I was thrilled to find them easily in Sicily when we were there several years ago with my parents. It did seem to be quite appropriate that I bought a little bag of them to share with my mother.
As for this recipe, it may not be a chocolate covered orange peel, but it is a delicious dessert worthy of a dinner party or any type of celebration, especially if you want something cold that doesn't require turning the oven on to make. You do need to plan ahead, though. It needs about 6 hours in the freezer, but unlike ice cream, you don't need an ice cream maker.
In the middle of summer it may be hard to find tangerines, so you can easily substitute oranges. But for some reason my tangerine tree was late this year and it is currently covered with tiny but sweet tangerines. When I say tiny, I do mean that they are tiny—the majority are the size of a large marble. The recipe calls for 2 tangerines to get 3/4 cup of juice. It took 16 of mine to get 3/4 cup of juice!
For the chocolate cookies, I took a tip from Nancy and used the Cat Cookies for People from Trader Joe's that you can see in the photo above. I also substituted agave syrup for the corn syrup called for in the recipe for the chocolate sauce. But I followed the rest of the recipe faithfully, and it all turned out perfectly. After it was thoroughly frozen, I dipped the loaf pan in hot water and inverted it onto a platter for slicing and serving as you see it in the photo at the top of this entry.
My only warning about this dessert is that it is actually very rich and downright decadent. And I doubt I could ever eat it without thinking of my childhood chocolate covered orange peels.