Holiday Feature


Chestnut and Ricotta Semifreddo

Chestnut and Ricotta Semifreddo

If you think ice cream is a special treat, wait till you try this. Semifreddo is a much-enriched ice cream, really a frozen mousse. In our family, chestnuts have always been a delicacy. Fresh chestnuts are available in the fall, so traditionally this is a fall or winter dessert—but it's too good to rule out completely in the spring and summer.

You can buy canned chestnuts, either whole or puréed. If whole, simply purée them in the food processor. If you want to use fresh chestnuts, you'll have to peel them open, boil or roast them, and then purée them. For the purposes of this recipe, it doesn't make much difference whether you use fresh or canned chestnuts. You'll also need an ice cream maker.

Serves 4

  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 pounds chestnut purée
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied lemon peel
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large stainless steel saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, the remaining 2 cups of sugar, the rum, and 1 cup of water and beat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the ricotta, chestnut purée, and candied lemon peel. Mix in the reserved milk-sugar mixture.

Process in an ice cream maker, scoop into bowls, and serve immediately.

Little Italy Cookbook
by David Ruggerio
Photographs by Melanie Acevedo
Workman Publishing, $22.95
232 pages, October, 1997
ISBN 1-885183-54-2
Reprinted by permission


Buon Natale: Christmas Eve Italian Style

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Copyright © 1997, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

This page created 1997 and modified November 2006.

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