• Torrone and cherry dark chocolate semifreddo. (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

A cross between a mousse and gelato, this semi-frozen dessert is a great one for summer as you don’t need an ice-cream maker.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (15 votes)

Bittersweet dark chocolate semifreddo is studded with cacao nibs, roasted almonds, chewy torrone and sour cherries. We've served ours in a waffle cone - like a grown-up choc top - but you can serve in bowls, too. 


This recipe is part of our Dinner and A Movie collection paired with our SBS On Demand Italian movie selection brought to you by Alfa Romeo.


Dark chocolate semifreddo

  • 300 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into squares or roughly chopped
  • 4 small waffle cones
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) pure (single) cream (35% milk fat)
  • 40 g almond torrone (Italian nougat), diced into 5 mm cubes
  • 90 g (¼ cup) maraschino cherries, halved
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp roasted almond praline (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp sea salt


Roasted almond praline

  • ¼ cup almonds, roasted
  • ⅓ cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes: 1.5 litres

Freezing time: 4 hours

For the roasted almond praline, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the almonds on a small oven lined with baking paper and roast for 10 minutes until nicely toasted. Remove from the oven and arrange the almonds in a neat row, about 5 cm wide and set aside. Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan, swirling so the sugar is soaked in water. Place over medium-high heat and cook, undisturbed, until the mixture begins to bubble and start changing colour to caramel (about 12-15 minutes). Swirl the pan gently if the caramel is getting dark too quickly in places. Keep swirling for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until a nice dark caramel but not burnt - watch the caramel carefully as it can go from perfect to burnt quickly. Remove from the heat immediately and pour over the almonds to coat completely. Leave to cool and harden completely (about 15 minutes). When cool, break up into pieces and place in a small food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Set aside 2 tbsp of praline for the semifreddo, then tip the rest onto a plate.

Bring a medium saucepan one-third filled with water to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan without touching the water and leave, undisturbed, to melt. When the chocolate is about three-quarters melted, gently stir to melt the remainder, set the bowl aside and allow the chocolate to cool slightly.

Take a waffle cone and dip the rim in the melted chocolate, then in the praline to coat lightly. Stand the cone in a glass or mug until the chocolate hardens. Repeat with the remaining cones. Set aside the melted chocolate. (Store leftover praline in an airtight container in the freezer.)

Bring the saucepan filled with water back to a simmer. Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a medium heatproof bowl over the saucepan. Using hand-held electric beaters, whisk the mixture on medium-high until it is thick and pale and holds a ribbons (about 4 minutes). Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and whisk on medium-high until the mixture has cooled to room temperature (about 4 minutes).

In a large bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add the melted chocolate and gently fold through to combine. Add one-third of the egg mixture and fold through well to combine and loosen the mixture. Add the remaining egg mixture and gently fold through until just combined.

Dot the torrone evenly over the mixture, scatter over the cherries, cacao nibs, praline and salt and gently fold through to distribute evenly. Scrape into a 1.5 litre container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop the semifreddo into the waffle cones and enjoy immediately. (Dip the ice-cream scoop in hot water in-between scoops to make scooping easier.)