Print Options:

Almond Nougat Semifreddo with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (Semifreddo al Torrone)

Prep and Cook Time
1 hr

Freeze Time
6 hrs

Total Time
7 hrs

Torrone (hard almond nougat) is an Italian specialty and one of many confections associated with the Christmas feast. Most Calabrian families eat it unadorned; Rosetta Costantino chops it and then folds it into a semifreddo—a frozen custard dessert similar to ice cream—to give tradition a delicious twist.

Almond Nougat Semifreddo with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (Semifreddo al Torrone)

Lisa Romerein
 3 large eggs, separated (see Notes)
 1/2 cup sugar
 3/4 cup hot milk (about 125°)
 2 cups (about 7 oz.) finely chopped or crushed Italian torrone classico (almond nougat; see Notes), divided
 2 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur, such as amaretto
 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz.) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
 1 3/4 cups whipping cream, divided
 1/4 pound coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Step 1

Set a bowl of ice water near the stove. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. With a whisk or electric mixer, beat until thick and pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the hot milk. Pour the mixture into a 1- to 2-qt. saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it's thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches about 165° on an instant-read thermometer, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not let custard boil or it will curdle. Remove from heat and set in bowl of ice water; stir often until cold. Stir in 1 cup nougat and the liqueur.

Step 2

Line a 5- by 9-in. loaf pan with a single sheet of plastic wrap, leaving overhang on all sides. Sprinkle the bottom first with remaining 1 cup nougat, then the 1/4 cup chocolate, spreading them evenly.

Step 3

In a bowl with clean beaters or a whisk, whip egg whites to stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, whip 1 1/4 cups cream to firm peaks.

Step 4

Pour custard over egg whites and fold in gently. Fold in whipped cream until no white streaks remain.

Step 5

Pour the custard mixture into the loaf pan. Cover with overhanging plastic wrap. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.

Step 6

For the chocolate sauce: In a small saucepan, bring remaining 1/2 cup cream to a simmer. Put the 1/4 lb. chocolate in a bowl and pour hot cream over it. Let stand until chocolate is softened, about 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.

Step 7

Remove plastic wrap covering loaf pan. Put a platter upside down over pan. Invert and remove pan and plastic wrap. If you want to remove wrinkle marks, smooth them over using a spatula. Cut the semifreddo into 1/2-in. slices and place on dessert plates. Spoon chocolate sauce over and around it. Serve immediately.

Step 8

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving with 1 Tbsp. sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Calories 330Calories from Fat 60
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g34%

Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 104mg35%
Sodium 43mg2%
Total Carbohydrate 26g9%

Dietary Fiber 1.3g6%
Protein 5.6g12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.