Black Truffle Almond Semifreddo

Oregon truffles are a welcome addition to this festive and surprisingly earthy frozen dessert

semifreddo with sliced almonds and cookies on white plate

Known for it’s affinity to egg-y and cream-y dishes, Semifreddo, Italian for “half cold”, is the iconic frozen custard/meringue dessert constructed much like ice cream cake (you remember those, right?). We’re giving all our cooks and readers this recipe for Semifreddo so you, too, can indulge in this divine dish at home. Oregon truffles are prized for their uniquely sweet flavor, with notes of chocolate and pineapple. What do these two seemingly unrelated things, cake and mushrooms, have in common? They complement each other amazingly well.

In our nod to keeping it local and Made in the USA with this recipe, we’re paying homage to the Oregon Truffle Festival where you can secure locally foraged product here and here.

Before we reach the end of the winter truffle season, we’re paying homage to one of the most thrilling finds a loyal pup can sniff up in the forests of Oregon. The. Black. Truffle.

Below is our recipe for Almond Semifreddo with Oregon truffles. It may sound strange but the addition to this classic dessert will hit the tongue cool and earthy, and then mellow as the cream and sugar meld. The lasting flavor is of sweet truffle, with overtones of mushroom and chocolate.

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup plus 6 tsp sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup crushed amaretti cookies

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons white truffle shavings (preferably Oregon Black Truffles)

Directions

1. Line a 6 cup loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving 3-4 extra inches on all sides. Place in freezer.

2. Place large mixing bowl and electric beaters in freezer for 15 minutes. Then remove from freezer and whip cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Place egg whites in bowl of standing mixer, or other bowl if using a hand mixer.

4. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Once sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and raise the heat to medium-high. Gently wash down any sugar crystals that form at the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cool water.

5. While waiting for the liquid to reach 210ºF on a candy thermometer, begin beating the egg whites with whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat until soft peaks form and gradually add in the remaining 5 teaspoons of sugar one teaspoon at a time.

6. When syrup reaches 238ºF, turn off heat. The temperature will continue to rise. As soon as the whites form thick soft peaks, slowly pour syrup on top of whites in a thin stream, beating the whites continuously. Avoid pouring syrup on the beaters. The whites will triple in volume and look glossy. Add vanilla and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes longer, until the mixture has cooled to room temperature.

7. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the egg whites. Gradually fold in the rest of the whipped cream until the mixture is smooth. Gently fold in the almonds, crushed amaretti cookies and truffles.

8. Scrape mixture into the prepared pan from the freezer. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Fold the plastic wrap over the top and freeze overnight.

9. To unmold, fold back plastic the wrap. Place a large plate on top of the pan. Hold the top of the plate with one hand and the bottom of the pan with the other. Flip the pan so it is now on top of the plate. Set down on a flat surface and gently remove the pan, a few gentle taps with a rubber spatula will help loosen it. Peel away the plastic wrap and smooth with a spatula. Cut into ½ inch thick slices. Serve on top of almond cookie and sprinkle with almond slices.

Serves 8.

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