Semifreddo, a frozen dessert sometimes layered with bits of crumbled cookies or fruit, is considered a special-occasion treat for Italians. It takes quite a bit of time to make one, since the ice cream layers traditionally are made from scratch. with its brownie layers (and store-bought ice cream), my version is a lot quicker to put together, but it still captures the spirit of an authentic Italian semifreddo.
box dark chocolate fudge
, such as Duncan Hines
, at room temperature
, such as Frangelico
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a rimmed 12 × 8 1/2-inch quarter sheet pan or a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper (see Cook’s Notes). Spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir together the brownie mix, eggs, liqueur, vegetable oil, and almond extract. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the brownie is just set. Allow the brownie to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Line a 5 × 9-inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper that overhangs each long side by about 2 inches. Remove the pints of ice cream from the freezer for about 10 minutes to soften just slightly (see Cook’s Notes).
- Cut the cooled brownie sheet into 3 equal 9-inch-long rectangles. Place 1 piece in the bottom of the loaf pan. Scoop the softened vanilla ice cream onto the brownie and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Place another brownie rectangle on top of the ice cream and press down gently. Scoop the softened chocolate– chocolate chip ice cream onto that brownie and repeat spreading the ice cream evenly with an offset spatula. Place the last brownie rectangle on top and press firmly. Wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
- To unmold, run a thin knife along the two short sides of the loaf pan to loosen the cake and turn it out, upside-down, onto a chilled plate. Peel off the parchment and dust with the confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Slice the cake and serve.
COOK’S NOTES: If you bake the brownies in a 9 × 13-inch pan instead of the quarter sheet pan, they will be a little thinner and need a minute or two less in the oven. Trim the rectangles as needed to fit the loaf pan, as they will be slightly larger. To help soften and spread the ice cream, put half of it in a stand mixer and whip. Add the rest, whip again, and it will spread easily and evenly.
Excerpted from Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita by Giada de Laurentiis. Copyright © 2018 by GDL Foods Inc. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.