As everyone here knows I am in love with Nocciola Gelato (Hazelnut Italian style ice cream). It is a craving that can never be fulfilled. I always have room for it and I am always searching for it. There are no gelaterias where I live. I do not have an ice cream maker, even though ice cream is by far my favorite dessert. Though you can make home made ice cream without an ice cream maker, it is time consuming. So being that my life has become very busy as of late, I wanted the taste of hazelnut gelato without a lot of the fuss! Then it dawned on me, Semi-Freddo! Freddo means cold in Italian, so Semi-Freddo is basically what it says, kind of cold. It has the creamy soft consistency of gelato, but none of the hassle in making it. I served mine with a dollop of Arance Sanguinelle (Blood Orange) Sorbetto and a shortbread cookie make from the leftovers of the DB tart.
4 large free-range egg (separate whites from yolks )
2 heaped tbsp runny honey
3/4 chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 vanilla bean (or in a pinch a few drops vanilla extract)
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups heavy cream
salt, just a pinch
Remove the seeds from the vanilla bean by scoring down the length and scraping the seeds out of each half.
Whisk vanilla seeds and sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl until pale.
In another bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. (Donâ€™t overwhip or it will go flat!)
In a third bowl, whisk (or beat egg whites with your electric mixer) with a pinch of salt until they form very firm peaks. To know if you are at this point, if you pull the egg whites in any direction, they donâ€™t fall or flop over.
In the egg yolks bowl, add honey and hazelnuts and stir together, add the cream then the egg whites.
Gently fold in (Remember! Do not overmix as you want to keep in as much of the air youâ€™ve whipped in).
Immediately scoop contents into your container, cover with plastic film and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving (overnight is best!).