Chocolate Caramel Espresso Semifreddo Pie
Y2, Week Nine: Heat Wave Pie
I don’t drink coffee. Yes, really. I don’t drink coffee and I don’t drink beer, I’m the worst foodie ever. But you see, Madison, like a large portion of the country, has been having a heat wave and I’m completely envious of those fancy frozen coffee drinks my friends get to cool off. You know the ones. They have impossible names like “Cinnamon Dolce Soy Amaretto Mocha Chai Créme Frappuccino®,” and they’re covered in whipped cream and caramel. They’re so awesome. I want one very badly, except for, you know, it’s coffee.
Well, sort of coffee. If we’re all going to be honest, those frozen coffee drinks are really pretty much just fancy coffee milkshakes. I like coffee milkshakes. A lot. And isn’t July National Ice Cream month? It IS! Yes!! Now we’re talkin’. So here’s my answer for those of us that shun the bean, but still covet the frozen caramelly goodness that is the iced coffee drink. The beauty of this recipe is that no ice cream maker is required, so everyone, caffeinated or not, is invited to the party!
While researching why Peet’s coffee called its frozen drinks “Freddo,” I discovered semifreddo. According to Epicurious.com it’s Italian for “half cold” and food-wise it refers to a class of partially frozen desserts — in this case, frozen mousse. What’s lovely about it is that the mousse never really freezes solid so it has a wonderful creamy texture that you just can’t get with ice cream. And you don’t need an ice cream maker. Which means I don’t have to clean my ice cream maker. It’s a win/win!
Just as an aside, if you do decide to make this, and you’d be crazy nuts not to, and then also decide that it is so beautiful that you simply must take a picture, try not to do so when there’s a 110° heat index. Especially if your only good lighting is outside. Photographing frozen desserts during a heat wave is an exercise in controlled terror.
- Milk from Sassy Cow Creamery.
- Eggs from New Century Farms.
CHOCOLATE CARAMEL ESPRESSO SEMIFREDDO PIE
Note: This recipe calls for a deep dish pie pan, at least 2 1/2″ deep. If you are using a regular pan, cut ingredients by approximately 50% or drop out a layer of the semifreddo.
(adapted from Classic Caramel Sauce by Cook’s Illustrated)
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter, cold
Pour water into medium heavy-bottomed saucepan; add corn syrup and sugar to center of pot to keep granules from adhering to sides of pot. Bring to boil over high heat, covered. Uncover pot, DO NOT STIR! You can insert a candy thermometer at this point, but you don’t have to. Continue to boil until syrup is thick and straw-colored, registering 300° on candy thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. You need to watch it like a hawk from now on, it only takes seconds to go from “caramel” to “black death.” Reduce heat to medium-high; continue to cook until sugar is medium/dark amber, and registers 340° on candy thermometer, about 5-10 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, when temperature of syrup reaches 300° and is lightly colored, bring cream and salt to simmer in small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Keep cream lightly simmering until the sugar has reached the right color/temperature.
Remove sugar syrup from heat. Pour about one-quarter of hot cream into sugar syrup; let bubbling subside. Add remaining cream; let bubbling subside. Stir very gently until smooth; stir in butter. Set aside on the counter until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
Can be made one day ahead and kept in the fridge. However make sure that caramel sauce is up to room temperature before making the caramel semifreddo.
Chocolate Wafer Crust
2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (1 18oz package)
1 stick butter
1/3 cup sugar
Heat oven to 350°.
Place wafer cookies in a plastic zip bag and work out your aggressions with a rolling pin until cookies have been reduced to fine crumbs. Melt the butter and mix thoroughly with 2 cups of crumbs (there’ll be some leftover in the bag), and sugar. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a greased 10″ pie pan. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Bake at 350° for 10 min. Remove from oven; let cool completely, then place in the freezer.
6 eggs, separated and room temperature
rounded 1/2 cup sugar, in the egg yolks
rounded 1/3 cup sugar, in the whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 tsp cocoa liqueur or rum, optional
3 tbsp boiling water
4 tsp instant espresso powder
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel sauce
1 tbsp vanilla
3 tbsp powdered sugar
Place chocolate in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool to room temperature. In another small bowl, dissolve espresso powder in boiling water. Refrigerate until needed.
Now make the shared components of all the mousse flavors. Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl and with a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat for 3-5 minutes until thickened and pale yellow in color. Set aside. Beat cream and vanilla with a hand mixer until the whipped cream is thickened to a frosting-like consistency. Set aside. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until frothy, about 1 minute. Continue beating while gradually adding 1/3 cup of sugar until the whites have become glossy and hold stiff peaks. Set aside.
Make the chocolate mousse. In a medium bowl combine chocolate, 1/4 of the egg yolk mixture, and the liqueur. Chocolate will thicken. Loosen chocolate mixture by stirring in a spoonful or two of the egg white mixture, then fold in 1/4 of the whites. Next gently fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream. Spoon mousse into prepared pie shell, smoothing it out evenly and gently, and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to harden.
The other flavors of mousse are made in a similar manner to the chocolate. Each layer must freeze for at least 30-45 minutes before you can add the next flavor, you can place the prepared mousse in the refrigerator until it’s time to add it to the pie shell.
Make the coffee mousse. In a medium bowl combine coffee liquids, 1/4 of the egg yolk mixture, and the powdered sugar. Gently fold in 1/4 of the whites. Next gently fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream. Once the chocolate layer has hardened, spoon mousse on top of the chocolate in the prepared pie shell, smoothing it out evenly and gently, and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to harden.
Make the caramel mousse. In a medium bowl combine caramel, and 1/4 of the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in 1/4 of the whites. Next gently fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream. Once the coffee layer has hardened, spoon mousse on top of the coffee in the prepared pie shell, smoothing it out evenly and gently, and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to harden.
Make the vanilla mousse. In a medium bowl combine vanilla, 1/4 of the egg yolk mixture, and the powdered sugar. Gently fold in 1/4 of the whites. Next gently fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream. Once the caramel layer has hardened, spoon mousse on top of the caramel in the prepared pie shell, smoothing it out evenly and gently. Grate chocolate on top, and drizzle with extra caramel to decorate. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Serve immediately upon removing from the freezer — the mousse never completely freezes solid so it softens quickly.