Chocolate & Honeycomb Semifreddo

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chocolate_semifreddo

Creamy semifreddo studded with milk chocolate chunks & crumbled honeycomb

Last week, after spending time on the treadmill before work, straightening my naturally curly hair then heading into the office to sit at my desk all day fielding emails, I started thinking about technology. And its tendency to get in the way of the simpler pleasures in life.
I’m not saying technology is inherently bad – it’s an undeniable and primarily positive part of twenty first century life – but every once in a while it feels important to go for a run in the great outdoors, leave our looks as nature intended or take time to have a real conversation instead of communicating electronically.
chocolate_semifreddo

Serve this semifreddo in scoops or freeze as a block & slice

Which brings me nicely on to the topic technology in the kitchen (surprise!). While I love my electric whisk, mini blowtorch and other assorted baking-related gadgets (including my candy apple red Kitchen Aid, which I heart), there’s no denying that they’ve changed the way I work. The number of times since Christmas I’ve kneaded dough for bread by hand rather than in the time-saving stand mixer could probably be counted on one hand, and since getting an ice cream machine for my birthday last year, I haven’t even thought about anything other than churned frozen desserts.
Which is such a shame, because there are some seriously good ones out there. Semifreddo – ‘partly cold’ in Italian – is the perfect example: a sublimely smooth iced dessert with its own unique identity, different from ice cream but every bit as delicious. While semifreddo is served straight from the freezer at a colder temperature than ice cream, its mouthfeel is warmer, making it wonderfully luxurious, soft and silken. It can be scooped straight up or frozen in a loaf tin and served in slices, and is a brilliant dessert regardless of whether you have an ice cream machine or not.
chocolate_semifreddo

Serve each slice crumbled with extra honeycomb

Every time I post an ice cream recipe on this blog, I get at least one comment or email asking if it’s possible to make the recipe without an ice cream maker. The answer is yes – any ice cream can be made with a freezer, a little patience and several goes at forking the frozen custard to break down any ice crystals (although the texture will never be quite as smooth as that of an ice cream made in a machine) – but I still think it’s about time I posted a frozen dessert that anyone can make and enjoy without any fancy equipment.
semifreddo’s smoothness comes from softly whipped cream and stiffly beaten egg white. Some recipes call for Italian meringue made with hot syrup, but in this version I’m keeping everything super simple. You whip double cream and egg whites, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale, melt some chocolate and combine it all in a sweet, light mixture stirred through with crunchy homemade honeycomb drizlled with melted milk chocolate.
chocolate_semifreddo

Sweet & smooth with a crunch of honeycomb – the perfect after dinner treat

Honeycomb is what you find inside a Crunchie bar (or Violet Crumble for any of my Australian readers), so you could easily substitute the shop-bought version for homemade, but making your own is much more fun. When you add bicarbonate of soda to the molten sugar syrup it fizzes and foams up in an eruption of amber bubbles before cooling to a crisp, crumbly bar. Drizzled with melted chocolate, allowed to set then smashed into sugary splinters, it’s not something your dentist will thank me for introducing you to, but it is very good.
When stirred through the ice cream, the honeycomb starts to dissolve, resulting in crispy, chewy nuggets of caramel goodness. The melted chocolate stays hard for a firmer chocolaty fix and the smooth chocolate base simply melts in your mouth. Because of the chocolate bar connotations and milk chocolate base, this would be the perfect dessert to make for kids (as long as you’re sure about your eggs as they do go in raw), but you could easily turn it into a more adult version with dark chocolate and pistachios (my current favourite combination from these blondies), or maybe raisins and a dash of rum. White chocolate would also work well, maybe with a little coconut and served with slices of fresh mango, or you can try any combination of chocolate, praline, alcohol, fruit, nuts and pretty much anything else you’d stir through normal ice cream.
chocolate_semifreddo

Milk chocolate makes this the perfect treat for kids (or big kids)

Simple, smooth and utterly unpretentious, this is a dessert that defies technology and takes things back to the old school. Oh, except I’d advise using an electric whisk unless you want to involve some serious bicep action whipping up all those egg whites and cream. Maybe technology isn’t such a bad thing after all . . .

Chocolate & Honeycomb Semifreddo

For the honeycomb (makes 400g) (recipe from the Channel Four Food website)
Ingredients:

75g clear honey
140g liquid glucose
400g sugar
5 tbsp water
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
100g milk chocolate

Method:

Lightly oil and line a tray with baking parchment.

Put the honey, liquid glucose, sugar and water in a large, high-sided saucepan (the honeycomb will bubble up) and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat and continue to cook until the mixture turns a light golden colour.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. The mixture will erupt in a foaming mass so take care not to burn yourself. Pour immediately onto the prepared baking tray and leave to set hard.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the set honeycomb. Allow to harden, then crumble into pieces and set aside.

For the semifreddo
Ingredients:

125g milk chocolate, chopped
4 large free range eggs
40g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50ml frangelico or liquer of your choice (optional)
500ml double cream
Pinch salt
200g honeycomb (see above), crumbled

Method:

If you want slices of semifreddo, line a large loaf tin with cling film. Otherwise you can store your semifreddo in a normal container.

Melt the milk chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl with the caster sugar and vanilla extract until pale, thick and light. Slowly whisk in the alcohol, if using, then stir in the cooled, melted chocolate.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form, but without letting them get dry.

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, followed by the egg whites until combined. Fold through the honeycomb, ensuring it is distributed fairly evenly.

Pour the mixture into your chosen container. If using a loaf tin, smooth the top then cover with a piece of baking parchment and smooth flat. Freeze for at least four hours before serving. Scoop or slice and enjoy.

I’m entering this post into Kavey‘s May Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge. For more information, and to get involved, click here.

38 RESPONSES TO Chocolate & Honeycomb Semifreddo

  1. Ha, yes I would definitely use my mixer for those egg whites! I don’t have an ice cream maker (and certainly have no room for one) although I do make my own ice cream fairly often by the old fashioned method. I don’t think I’ve ever made semifreddo though so I will have to try this especially as there really isn’t anything better than making your own honeycomb!

  2. Aah, another winner from my Ice Cream Queen! :0D

  3. This looks lovely. I normally find semifreddi a bit bland and weirdly textured, but yours looks like it has a lovely texture, and those bits of honeycomb sound delicious. Know what you mean about the KitchenAid – I’m so lazy when it comes to hand-kneading bread now!

  4. Wonderful! You always do the best ice cream. I utterly refuse to jog on a treadmill, I love to jog outside – it’s a great chance to get some fresh and and see a bit of the world around you. It’s also more difficult to jog outside than it is on a treadmill – you get fitter.

  5. What a great sounding semifreddo and I do think it makes a delicious dessert as well as being fairly easy to put together. The honeycomb idea is brilliant, such a welcome addition here. My favourite flavour ice cream is honeycomb when we go to Devon. I have never found one I love more and the rich buttery vanilla compliments it beautifully. Now chocolate & honeycomb could come close! Gorgeous idea :-)

  6. I soooo want to make some sort of ice cream without a machine, so I think this semifreddo will be the perfect thing to try! I love going back to basics too in the kitchen…so much can be done without big fancy equipment. :) Great post love! x

    • Kathryn – semifreddo is quite different from ice cream, but just as delicious. Great to have recipes for both up your sleeve for different occasions :-)

      Kavey – thank you!

      Elly – thanks :-) I think I use my Kitchen Aid too much for bread – there’s something about kneading dough by hand that is so relaxing, I should do it more often.

      Marissa – swanky indeed, enjoy!

      Frugal Feeding – the rubbish rainy weather at the moment means I’m firmly in the gym, but it is much nicer to get outdoors!

      Laura – plain honeycomb ice cream sounds gorgeous. I did toy with the idea of making a simpler base, but then got seduced by the idea of chocolate (as is often the case).

      Elaina – do it!

  7. Oh. Wow. Please. Can. I. Have. It. All. Pretttttttty please? This looks beyond utterly-scrumptious. Could you resist eating it all in one amazing go?

  8. OK, got it! This sounds fantastic and I’m very keen on the idea of NOT whisking the ice-cream every hour for what seems like ages until it freezes. Only, I’m always a bit concerned about eating raw egg. Completely irrational as I have no hesitation in licking out the cake bowl! I shall just have to forget my concern and give this a go. Sounds especially good with our honeycomb – such fun to make even if it’s not so great for the teeth.

  9. Oh this looks amazing! Anything with honeycomb has me sold straightaway. Recipe pinned :-)

  10. Drool…. I love honeycomb and was contemplating making my own this month for my AlphaBakes challenge which is ‘H’ – I’ve been thinking about using it in a cake or dipped in chocolate but this looks so much better! Love the semifreddo idea as I don’t have an ice cream maker but love ice cream.

  11. Yummy – not made this one yet but I have just attempted mousse so feeling braver!

  12. I love serving semifreddo for dinner parties, it’s so easy and crowd pleasing and as you say, doesn’t require an ice cream maker!

  13. You’ve saved my life. I’m afraid of having the raw eggs at play here. Although I have a feeling those tubbed ice creams are all the same. Would you happen to have a good ice cream recipe for rum& raisin that does not require an ice cream maker but still taste pretty smooth? I might try out mixing the eggs using the buttercream method. Heating it first and mixing till it comes back to room temp. think that would work?

    • Kate – we ate it all in the space of 24 hours (with some friends to help, I hasten to add!) – it’s definitely not the kind of dessert that hangs around for long :-)

      Choclette – I really don’t think raw egg is dangerous nowadays unless you’re feeding very young, old or pregnant people. Do give it a go if you can bring yourself too – thousands of Italians over the years can’t be wrong :-)

      Nickki – me too, honeycomb is so delicious, especially when homemade.

      Baking Addict – make some, you won’t regret it!

      Cake Boule – I promise this is even easier than mousse :-)

      Lorraine – exactly :-)

      Jesica – I’ve not made rum and raisin ice cream recently, but if I find a good no churn recipe I promise to let you know! I think you could make an Italian meringue and also heat the egg yolks with the sugar if you’re really worried about raw eggs, but it might affect the consistency of the finished dessert. I wouldn’t want to say for definite without trying it myself!

      • got it! Please do let me know! :D I will try it out… No harm having failed ice cream, I’m sure i could use it for bread pudding too ;p

  14. mykitchenstories -

    I love semi freddo , the best dessert eva…..Chocolate and honeycomb is sure to be the biggest crowd pleaser I can imagine
    http//:www.mykitchenstories.com.au

  15. This looks delicious, I’m jealous of your boyfriend. He gets yummie food!!!

  16. I didn’t know you could make honeycomb! That’s brilliant!

  17. Sara -

    I love the honeycomb recipe–what a great discovery!

  18. Amy -

    You make the most awe-worthy ice creams I have ever seen, seriously. If only I could taste them… sigh. I am just about ready to cry because I realized I left my KitchenAid mixer in my rented house at my university that I’ve left for the summer. And my ice cream maker is a kitchenaid mixer attachment. :'( I MUST find a way to make some of these ice creams you show on here!

    • My Kitchen Stories – it’s fab isn’t it?

      Regula – haha, he’s a lucky boy! (although he complains that I’ll make him fat…!)

      Shuhan – you can indeed, and its yummy :-)

      Sara – glad you like it!

      Jereme – :-)

      Amy – the joy of this semifreddo is that you can make it without an ice cream maker. Although I do feel your pain forgetting the Kitchen Aid :-(

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  20. Oh my goodness how delicious! Perfect combination of flavours, too. You’re right, the homemade honeycomb process is just the greatest no matter how old you are.

    • Nic – amazeballs is the best word!

      Alana – I know, it makes you feel like a big kid :-)

      Georgia – I’m definitely going to make some more soon!

      Emma – thank you, and thanks for the link :-)

  21. I´ve been wanting to make honeycomb for such a long time, I even bought the glucose. I´ll try this recipe and the ice cream too, since I love the no-need for an ice cream machine of semifreddo!

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  25. I know what you mean about technology… and sometimes I feel like I’m not an “authentic” baker for depending on it so much… and then I just decide I’m a more efficient baker because of it;-)

    LOVE this semifreddo!!

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