You’re looking at my back-up Valentine’s Day dessert. Why? Because tonight, the Valentine’s Date Night In Cook-off is going down. This year, my husband and I decided to take on a little cooking challenge instead of going out to a restaurant. For the cook-off, we brainstormed our fave types of food, wrote them down and threw them in a hat, and ended up choosing Indian food as the cuisine. From there, we drew for which two components of the meal to prepare for each other. I ended up with the main dish and side dish. Guys, I’m going to rock this. My husband’s taking on the appetizer and dessert. Hehe. An Indian dessert… If his frantic googling of recipes at 11pm last night is any indication of how his dishes will turn out, well, let’s just say I’m glad I’ve got this semifreddo on deck!
All jokes aside, this Chocolate Pistachio Semifreddo does hold a special place in my heart. It’s inspired by a dessert from our favorite restaurant, Acqua. At our first visit to Acqua, I tried my first semifreddo and my first pistachio. Crazy right? Growing up, I was never a fan of nuts.
Semifreddo is Italian for semi-frozen. It’s an almost ice-cream like dessert to which you can add any type of fruit, nut, or add-in you can think of. It’s frozen and then thawed slightly before serving so that each bite melts in your mouth.
This dessert is traditionally made with eggs and heavy cream, but of course I had to find a way to make it healthier. I found a recipe from Cooking Light that uses ricotta cheese, cream cheese, milk, and small amount of heavy cream. But I took a risk and just left out the heavy cream altogether. And great news! You don’t even need it. But the trick to making this a luscious and creamy dessert without it is blending everything together until smooth because ricotta cheese tends to have a grainy texture.
Once everything’s blended up, add in the pistachios and pour the mixture into ramekins lined with either parchment paper or plastic wrap. I found that plastic wrap worked better when I made these the second time around. Alternatively, you could pour everything into a lined loaf pan and extend the time in the freezer by a couple hours.
Once the semifreddos are frozen, take them out and let them thaw for about 20 minutes while you prepare the simple chocolate sauce. Melt some chocolate chips and coconut oil together and drizzle it over the top of each semifreddo and watch as it hardens over each frozen mound. It’s the magic shell effect! Then finish with a sprinkling of crushed pistachios for a beautifully indulgent and velvety dessert.
Even if Dan’s concoction turns out to be a success, I’m gonna go all out and have two desserts tonight. Something tells me his dessert isn’t going to have chocolate and a Valentine’s Day without chocolate is just not okay.
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons honey
- pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped + 1 ½ tablespoons, crushed
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Transfer the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, milk, almond extract, vanilla extract, honey, and salt to a blender or food processor and blend until silky and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the pistachios.
- Line 6 ramekins or small bowls with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Distribute the mixture evenly into the dishes. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Alternatively, you could pour the mixture into a loaf pan and extend the freezing time by about 2 hours.
- When ready to eat, take the dishes out of the freezer and let them sit for at least 20 minutes until they soften a bit. Alternatively, place them in the microwave for 10 seconds.
- While the dessert is freezing, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave or in over a double boiler. Drizzle an equal amount of chocolate over each semifreddo and sprinkle crushed pistachios over the top.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 257 Fat: 15g Carb: 20.5g Fiber: .8g Protein: 11.8g Sugar 14.4g Sodium: 200mg