I have a very dear friend who is a serious chocoholic. A few weeks ago, my lovely friend was joining us for lunch and I knew I had to make something with chocolate and as the weather was becoming much warmer, it had to be my homemade chocolate semifreddo.
This semifreddo has a smooth, velvety mousse-like texture, which is due to the "zabaglione" base of eggs and sugar beaten in a bain-marie. It doesn't freeze as solidly as homemade ice cream, which is a real bonus as you don't end up with those super annoying ice crystals that sometimes plague homemade ice cream. Really, there is nothing worse than getting a big mouthful of those!! The other bonus is that you don't need a ice cream maker for this recipe.
The Pavlidis Ygeias connection in this recipe is basically because it is my favourite brand of Greek chocolate. Really, any chocolate that is called "Ygeias" (healthy) gets my vote....and I also can't resist the gorgeous blue retro packaging. I use it for the base of the semifreddo, but I also put aside a big pile of grated chocolate to fold through at the end. I had planned on folding through finely pieces of giaconda - which is a chocolate also made by pavlidis that is filled with a nougaty hazelnut praline. Unfortunately, Mr K had polished off the last bag of giaconda's that we have bought back from Greece - so chocolate shavings it was going to be. You could actually use any brand of Greek chocolate you prefer to make the semifreddo - and you can also fold through any little treat you like, nougat, roasted hazelnuts....extra chocolate.
This dark chocolate semifreddo can be served simply scooped into cones, or you can scoop it into glasses or bowls. I chose to serve the semifreddo alongside some perfectly ripe ouzo soaked strawberries - the creamy base of the semifreddo providing a soothing transition between the chocolate and strawberry flavours. I think the anise flavour of the ouzo is also beautiful with the slightly sweetened strawberries.
Pavlidis Ygeias Dark Chocolate Semifreddo
400 gm Pavlidis Ygeia dark chocolate (70%), very finely chopped plus a little extra to fold through at the end
3 eggs, plus two extra egg yolks
150 grams raw caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
300 ml thickened cream
100 grams of creme fraiche
Step 1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bain-marie) stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool a little.
Step 2. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in another heatproof bowl over the same bain marie and using a hand held mixer beat until doubled in volume, pale and has a whipped cream texture, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue beating for another 5 minutes until it has cooled to room temperature - it will start to look smooth and a bit like a meringue texture.
Step 3. Whisk cream, sour cream and vanilla in a bowl to soft peaks.
Step 4. Fold chocolate into egg mixture, then fold in cream mixture to combine. Fold in grated chocolate, spoon into a container and freeze until firm - it's best to leave overnight or for at least 5 hours.
Ouzo soaked strawberries
1/4 cup ouzo
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
2 punnets of strawberries
Combine all three ingredients in a bowl, cover and leave to macerate in the fridge for 30 minutes.