Joanne Weir Follow @ChefJoanneWeir

Gianduja Semifreddo

Gianduja Semifreddo

Gianduja is the sweet chocolate specialty of Turin, in the Piemonte Region of Italy.  It has loads of hazelnuts and is really delicious.  I have recreated it in this semifreddo and promise that it will make you feel like you are in the heart of Piemonte!

Serves 6 to 8



3/4 cup whole hazelnuts
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated
6 amaretti cookies, crumbled
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream


Preheat an oven to 350ºF.  Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake until the skins start to crack, 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, place in a rough terry cloth towel and rub to remove the skins.  If some skin remains, repeat.  It is fine if a little of the skin remains.  Chop the hazelnuts until finely ground.  Alternately they can be finely ground in a food processor being careful not to make them into hazelnut butter.

In a bowl, combine the hazelnuts, chocolate and amaretto cookies.

Line a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap.

In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until the mixture is a stiff ribbon.  In another bowl, with a clean beater, beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks are formed.  Finally, beat the heavy cream in a third bowl until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.  Fold in the heavy cream.

Spoon one-third of the egg/cream mixture in the prepared pan.  Spread to distribute evenly.  Distribute half of the hazelnut/chocolate mixture evenly over the egg/cream mixture.  Repeat with the egg/cream mixture and then the hazelnut/chocolate mixture.  Finally top with the egg cream mixture.  Smooth the top with a spatula.  Cover with plastic and freeze for several hours or overnight.

To serve, invert the pan onto a platter.  Remove the plastic wrap.  Cut into thick slices and serve.