This delectable espresso chocolate semifreddo is the perfect summer treat with a delicious punch of espresso complemented by a layer of rich, creamy chocolate. This post is sponsored by Calphalon. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Beyond Sweet and Savory possible.
Given all the coffee aficionados in our family, we rarely miss starting the day with a cup of espresso. Our trusted Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine makes it a breeze to have quality espresso from the comfort of our kitchen. With summer officially here, I’m excited to partner with Calphalon to share how a cup of espresso can go from a morning essential to a fun, delectable dessert. For the coffee and chocolate enthusiasts, you will undoubtedly love this decadent espresso chocolate semifreddo with a delicious punch of espresso complemented by a layer of rich, creamy chocolate.
What’s a semifreddo
Semifreddo, which means “half-cold” in Italian, is a classic dessert that tastes like frozen mousse. Similar to ice cream and gelato, semifreddo starts with a custard base but is lightened with whipped cream and/or egg whites instead of being churned in an ice cream maker. Everything is transferred to a loaf pan, frozen until solid, unmolded, and cut into slices for serving.
How to make a semifreddo
Making a semifreddo is quite easy. It involves only a few steps: creating the custard base, folding in the whipped cream, and freezing it overnight. You’ll need a handful of essential ingredients: egg yolks, sugar, whipped cream, espresso, and chocolate. The egg yolks contain mainly fat and protein which give the semifreddo a soft and creamy texture while the whipped cream acts as an aerator to lighten the custard base. Whipped cream contains more trapped air than what’s introduced into ice cream during churning and slows the transfer of ambient heat allowing semifreddo to retain its shape longer than most ice creams.
The espresso layer
The first layer of semifreddo is flavored with espresso. With the help of my Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine, I can have a shot of espresso ready in less than a minute. I used only one shot of espresso for flavor but feel free to double the amount if you love a stronger coffee flavor. The espresso is whisked with egg yolks and sugar over a double boiler, then whipped into an airy mixture in a stand mixer. Once the espresso base is ready, I fold in the whipped cream.
Since having the espresso machine at the end of last year, I love waking up to a freshly brewed cup of espresso every morning. The Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine uses precise temperature and for an even extraction throughout the brew cycle and has a 15-bar Italian pump for maximum flavor extraction and café-quality coffee at home. We have enjoyed creating cappuccinos, lattes, and other delectable espresso desserts from ice cream, cake, cheesecake, and baked goods.
The chocolate layer
The second layer is flavored with chocolate. You can use dark, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate depending on your preference. I started with an egg custard similar to how an ice cream base is made. Hot heavy cream is used to temper the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Then the custard is poured back into the saucepan and cooked on low heat until thickened. The strained hot custard is used to melt the chopped chocolate. Once the custard cools down, I gently fold in the whipped cream.
How long to freeze semifreddo
For my espresso chocolate semifreddo, I find it easier to freeze the espresso for 2 hours before topping it with chocolate so the two layers don’t blend together. If you’re short on time, you can skip the first freezing step. Once the custard is poured into a plastic wrap–lined loaf pan, it needs to stay in the freezer overnight for a minimum of 8 hours until solid. Twenty four hours would be ideal for the flavors to develop.
What to serve semifreddo with
When it comes to serving semifreddo, there are endless options-seasonal fruits, nuts, shaved chocolate, and even crumbled cookies like amaretto to add some textural contrast. Berries, cherries, and figs pair well with espresso and chocolate. I opted for fresh figs, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate to complement the flavors of the espresso chocolate semifreddo while cutting through its richness.
After 8 hours in the freezer, the texture of this airy semifreddo becomes a cross between a frozen chocolate mousse and gelato. This espresso chocolate semifreddo is a slice of heaven with its creamy, smooth texture and a delicious punch of espresso layered with rich chocolate taste.
Who wouldn’t love a no fuss frozen dessert that doesn't require an ice cream maker, doesn't melt easily, and can be made ahead! This delectable espresso chocolate semifreddo is the ideal dessert for a casual weeknight or dressed up for a fancy weekend dinner party and will make your family and friends think you special ordered it from a restaurant.
Espresso chocolate semifreddo
- ¼ cup espresso
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup heavy cream (for melting chocolate)
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup shaved chocolate for serving
- 1 pint fresh figs for serving
- ½ cup heavy cream, whipped
- 2 tbsps powdered sugar
- Line a 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place pan in the freezer until ready to use.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place 1 ½ cups heavy cream in the bowl and beat the cream on high speed until it thickens and forms soft peaks. Divide the cream in two containers and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- For the espresso layer, place the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over a pot of simmering water but don’t let the bottom touch the water. Beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer at medium speed, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the egg mixture to a stand mixture, add the espresso, and whisk until it becomes light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the espresso mixture.
- Transfer the espresso mixture to the loaf pan, smooth it with an offset spatula, and let it freeze for 2 hours.
- For the chocolate layer, put chocolate in a large prep bowl with a fine mesh strainer over it.
- Bring ½ cup of heavy cream to a gentle simmer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together.
- While whisking the eggs constantly, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture and continue tempering the eggs until the cream is gone.
- Pour the cream and egg mixture back into the pan and cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and coats the back of a spatula.
- Pour custard in the strainer above the chocolate. Whisk the chocolate until it’s completely melted. Discard the scrambled eggs.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
- Transfer the chocolate mixture to the prepared loaf pan with the espresso layer.
- Freeze until set, at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours.
- Right before serving, in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place heavy cream and powdered sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
- When ready to serve, turn the loaf pan upside down over a serving platter and unmold. Remove the plastic wrap.
- Top with figs and shaved chocolate.
- Slice the semifreddo crosswise into 1-inch pieces and serve with whipped cream and extra shaved chocolate.