Thursday, 10 April 2014

Semifreddo al Cioccolato e Nutella (Chocolate and Nutella Semifreddo) ... You make me smile with my heart...

There's a little window, deep in my heart, where the grapevines are always laden with bunches of sweet fruits of green and gold opal. It is my secret place, where I sometimes like to hide, as, to me, it's like a treasure chest full of all the things I love. Inside, well hidden, are my home, my family, people who came before me and then left... all seems to be in lost in time...  But I know everything is still locked in there, as time cam be switched on, by the beat of your heart and if you really, really want to...


Beyond that window are the blue sea, and the sky. Even the rocks, above the water, are full of life, as little creature live in them and make sounds you can hear, at night, if you walk on those rock warmed up by the sun.

I want to go there, today, inside my secret place, behind the window and the grapevine, and share a little clip from the movie which has been my life, until today.

I am walking home from school, a little girl of maybe eight, with a group of friends. My satchel feel heavy and I feel lazy. There is a place, a kind of enclosed court yard, surrounded by blocks of flats. I know I shouldn't cut through that place, because I am not allowed, but today... today I am going to be naughty, like Collodi's Pinocchio and I will do what I want to do! I am going that way!

We walk and we sing. We swing our satchels, we chase each other and we laugh. Oh, how I enjoy feeling free! They will never come looking for me here!

Suddenly, my friends go quiet. They stop running, singing and chasing me. I stop... I feel him behind me... he's big, he's tall... he's blond... oh, my God! It's my Dad! I shout "Babbo! Che fai?" ( I knew very well what he was doing...)  "Ti ho detto mille volte di non venire qui!" "I told you thousands of times you mustn't come here!" Then, he... gets hold of my letf ear, just like Mastro Geppetto did with Pinocchio, when he sold the gold buttons off his jacket, and drags me, like a donkey, all the way home!

 The pain! My ear is sore, but not as sore as my EGO! Everyone laughs as my dad drags me home! The shame of it! And the pain!( But I learnt my lesson. Though I did go back a few times...)

Once home, there she is, my mamma Rosa, really upset because by now I am crying. My ear is so red and it hurst and I know my friends must still be laughing at me. ( Well... I knew I would have never forgotten that episode, because it was the only time my dad punished me. He was the kindest, gentlest of men. like my sister says:" Nostro padre non era un uomo... era un angelo!"" Our father was not a man, he was an angel!")

Anyway... he must have felt really bad, because a few minutes later, he came to see me and gave me a little plate with a fresh slice of crusty bread with lots of sweet, delicious Nutella spread all over it! "Fai la merenda. Avrai fame!" "Have your afternoon snack. You must be hungry!"

 He then took me out and bought me an ice cream! My poor, dear Babbo! He must have felt guilty!

Last week, I bought an enormous 750g jar of Nutella! Wow! And I actually used some of it  to make a semifreddo. I only made it to stop myself from eating all that smooth deliciousness, but... my semifreddo was so good, so I will make one for you!

And here it is:   

Semifreddo alla Nutella
e Cioccolato


450g  (about 1lb) Nutella Spread
50g (2 oz)  sugar
4 whole medium eggs
100g (4 oz) dark chocolate
50g  (2 oz)  white chocolate
200ml (8fl oz) whipping cream
a few tsp Mascarpone
( this is very optional!)
3 tbs liquer of your choice
Extra chocolate for decoration
(Or a selection of crushed nuts
if you prefer)
Boudoir Biscuits or


Place your Nutella in a bowl and heat for about 20 seconds in the microwave, or in a saucepan, on the ring, if you prefer. Set aside. Till will soften your Nutella.
Next, place your eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk over a pan of boiling water, until you get a beautiful creamy texture (this will take about 5 minutes) a bit like a zabaione. If the water is boiling too fast, turn down slightly. Set aside.
Using a cheese grater, grate your dark and white chocolate.
Your cream will have to be whipped, too, in a largish bowl, as this is where all the ingredients will have to mixed, but make you don't over whip, or it will separate.

Now, you have most of your ingredients ready and you can START! Add the whisked egg mixture to the whipped cream and gently fold. 

 Next, in goes your Nutella, which will have to be incorporated, again, gently. At this point you should get a soft, airy chocolate colour mousse type mixture... very nice!

Add a tbs of liqueur, if you wish, or some vanilla essence, plus your grated white and dark chocolate. Mix lightly and taste. You have to have a taste... you will be tempted!
Now you can line a container with cling film. Use two long pieces which will cross in the middle. Make sure the cling film overlaps the tin. Be generous.

I made my semifreddo in a bread tin, lined with cling film, as I like the shape, and it makes my semifreddo easy to slice. I gently poured my mixture into the tin ( as you can see from the picture, I also added a few teaspoons of Mascarpone, unsweetened. I let it slip into the mixture and covered with a few Savoiardi, or Boudoir biscuits gently and quickly dipped in a sweet liqueur.

 Having made sure I used enough cling film, I gathered the excess over the top of my semifreddo, as you can see from the pictures, and placed in on a flat surface in the freezer.

Semifreddo takes five to six hours to set. When it's ready, you can turn it out onto a serving dish and decorate any way you like. You can use fruit dipped in chocolate, chopped nuts, meringues, mini eggs... anything! Be very creative! you will have such fun!

 I made a few very pretty dark and white chocolate flowers, which I placed all over my semifreddo, with mint shoots from the garden. It looked so pretty! Too pretty to eat, really! But what can you do? A person's got to do what a person's got to do!