Iced Chocolate hazelnut semifreddo


A  semifreddo is a partially frozen dessert ideal for any time of year. It is great for entertaining as it is fully assembled , placed in the freezer and allowed to thaw at room temperature 30 minutes before serving . The combination of chocolate and crunchy hazelnuts give great texture to the creamy ice cream like consistency of the filling all enrobed by coffee and brandy soaked ladies fingers . This dessert is eggless except for the ladies fingers , I simply use any left over eggless sponge cake as an alternative.

Serves 6 to 8

3/4 cup shelled hazelnuts , toasted , skinned and chopped

about 32 sponge fingers

2/3 cup strong black cofee

2 tbs brandy

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar , sifted

5 oz bittersweet chocolate , chopped

powdered sugar and cocoa powder , for decorating

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and cut ladies fingers to line base and sides of pan .Reserve remaing biscuits . Stir coffee and brandy together and dip , briefly the cut fingers and return to the pan placing the sugary side down .to fit neatly.

Melt half the chocolate in a double boiler . Leave to cool.

Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until it holds soft peaks. Fold half the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts into the cream, gently stirring them in. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Spoon into the sponge lined pan .

Moisten the remaining biscuits in the coffee brandy mixture, briefly or they will collapse. Lay the  moistened biscuits over the chocolate cream mixture . Wrap and freeze until firm .

To serve , remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving to allow the iced cream to soften slightly. Unmold onto a serving platter and garnish with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

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