With a few bars of that wicked good stuff in my hot little hands, I left the shop. Both my mind and my heart were racing a little bit. I knew just what I was going to make for my terrine entry - a torrone semifreddo!
Now, delicious as this would be on its own, I also felt that I needed to have another layer on my terrine, for a contrast of color and texture. This second layer should also contain some kind of nuts, and should preferably be Italian in nature. Well, I had two jars of Nutella sitting in my Bermuda Triangle of a pantry, so I decided to break out one and make a chocolate - hazelnut semifreddo too. I mean, what could be more quintessentially Italian than Nutella? I decided to call my creation Torronutella Semifreddo Terrine. Pretty catchy, huh? Believe me, it sounds a lot more aristocratic than it really is!
Essentially, what I did was make both recipes independently and freeze them together to form the terrine. I prepared the torrone semifreddo first and let it freeze up overnight. The next day, I made the chocolate-hazelnut version, spread it over the frozen torrone layer and froze it again. I wasn't able to find hazelnuts anywhere, so I used roasted pistachio nuts instead. Crushed pistachios are commonly used in all kinds of Italian pastries, so I felt okay with that.
In order to ensure pain-free unmolding, I lined the mold with plastic wrap that hung over the sides. That way, I could just lift the terrine out in one sinfully sweet, chunky, creamy hunk of frozen heaven. I dressed the terrine up with a little chocolate sauce for the pictures, but it really didn't need it. Both of the layers harmonized beautifully together and it was marvelous on its own!
For the Torrone Semifreddo:
6 ounces hard Italian torrone, with almonds
In a small saute pan, add almonds and 2 tbsp. sugar. Saute over high heat until sugar starts to carmelize and the almonds are toasted. Spread out in the bottom of the terrine mold. Set aside.
Use a sturdy chopping knife to cut the nougat into small pieces, then grind it to a granular consistency in the food processor.
In another bowl, preferably a chilled steel one, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Add the whipped cream, the rum, and the ground nougat to the beaten egg yolks, mixing well to distribute all the ingredients uniformly.
For the Chocolate-Hazelnut Semifreddo:
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 jar Nutella, divided
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
1/2 cup roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
Heat Nutella in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to soften it up. Set aside.
Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are warm, about 2 minutes.
Place the bowl in mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
Add two thirds of the Nutella and mix on low speed until blended. Gently fold in whipped cream and chopped hazelnuts.
Scrape mixture into into the mold and spread evenly over the torrone layer. Spoon remaining third of the Nutella lengthwise down center of the mold letting it sink into semifreddo.
Cover top of pan with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, lift the terrine out of the mold using the plastic wrap overhang. If the terrine sticks, place the mold on a dish towel soaked in very hot water for a minute or two. This should soften the terrine a bit and make it easier to unmold.
Cut the semifreddo into 1 inch slices and serve on dessert plates with the garnish of your choice.