I am a demon for choc mint ice cream.
It has always been my favourite flavour. Something about the call of that lurid green swathe of ice cream through the window at the ice cream parlour, scattered with crunchy chocolate chips. It had the best of all the worlds, colourful, chocolate, creamy and refreshing all at the same time. Colour in my food is less of an attraction and more of a deterrent these days, but the rest still stands. Choc-mint ice cream? Brilliant. Choc Mint Semifreddo? Next level.
I must confess, you will a lot sooner see me setting out to make a semifreddo than ice cream. Ice cream is a process. To me it’s something you do on holidays, or for a really special occasion. The thing is, when you’re having people over, ice cream is usually an adjunct to something else, like you have apple crisp and ice cream. Or apple charlotte and ice cream. People tend to look a little disappointed when you say dessert is just ice cream. (Not me, I hasten to add. Ice cream at any hour!)
But semifreddo seems like a different prospect altogether. I don’t know whether it’s the fancy name, the terrine-like presentation, or what, but when you mention semifreddo for dessert, people get excited. This one is my first attempt at a hack version of a Vienetta. Did you ever eat those when you were growing up? They were a huge deal here in Australia, and in the UK I think. Basically a super fancy ice cream log, all swirls and ripples and it had these wafer thin layers of crisp chocolate all throughout it. That was my birthday cake of choice for many years, a vienetta. So chic, so delicious. It too has the fancy name, the rectangular presentation.
So what is a semifreddo? It’s like a softly frozen vanilla mousse, and this one is feathered with homemade peppermint magic shell (that’s ice magic to us Aussies) and then swathed with more dark and minty chocolate sauce. Eggs are whipped over a pan of simmering water to make the base of this frozen treat, before whipped cream is folded in, and then the aforementioned magic chocolate mixture is swirled through.
By not stirring the chocolate in fully, you get these wonderfully fine shards of mint chocolate which melt as soon as they hit your tongue, providing a dark contrast to the light and airy base, as well as a refreshing hit of mint. All of that slowly melts and softens under it’s blanket of warm sauce, and yeah, people were right to get excited.
What do you think it is about this that makes it such a desirable dessert? I don’t know. I’m going to go eat a slice and ponder that.
Choc Mint Semifreddo
Serves 6 easily
Inspired by this recipe from Donna Hay.
1 egg yolk
125g (1/2 cup) sugar
125g (5 oz) mint flavoured dark chocolate (I use lindt)
60ml (1/4 cup) coconut oil
250ml (1 cup) double cream
For the sauce:
75g (3 oz) mint flavoured dark chocolate
200ml (3/4 cup) double cream
To make the semifreddo, first line a loaf tin with plastic wrap. Next, place a medium saucepan half filled with water over a low heat. In a heatproof bowl that sits snugly over the pan, place the eggs, yolk and sugar and whisk to combine, set aside. In a smaller heatproof bowl, place the chocolate and coconut oil, set aside. Place the eggs and sugar over the heat and begin to whisk either by hand or with a hand-held electric mixer. Continue to whisk for about 5-7 minutes of until the eggs and sugar have tripled in volume and become a very pale apricot colour. Set aside to cool. Place the chocolate and oil over the simmering water to melt. Meanwhile, whip the double cream to soft peaks.
Once the chocolate is melted, set it aside to cool and proceed to fold the whipped cream into the cooled egg mixture. Finally, drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the egg and cream mixture and then ripple is together very gently; one or two motions should be enough. Pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin and cover with plastic, before placing in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
When you’re ready to serve, gently melt the ingredients for the sauce together, and then unmould the semifreddo onto a plate. Drizzle with warm sauce and serve to lucky guests.