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Frozen Italian dessert on a serving plate.

Classic Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo

Emma Duckworth
This Classic Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo ticks all the boxes for an indulgent, elegant, delicious make-ahead dessert. The rich, smooth, frozen texture is out of this world making it the perfect combination of ice cream and mousse! Rich, chocolatey with the bonus crunch of toasted hazelnuts, grab yourself a slice!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Method Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 slices
Calories 316 kcal



  • 360 ml whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs - yolks and egg whites divided
  • 150 g granulated sugar - divided into 100g (⅔ cup) and 50g (⅓ cup)
  • 30 ml hazelnut liqueur
  • 200 g dark chocolate 70% - finely chopped
  • 220 g Nutella - divided into 150g (½ cup) and 70g (¼ cup)
  • 50 g hazelnuts, skinless and toasted (See notes) - coarsely chopped


  • Prepare the loaf pan. Line a 2lb loaf pan (9x5-inch) or freezer-safe plastic container with plastic wrap, leaving plenty overhanging the sides.
  • Whip the cream. In a medium bowl, beat the cream on medium-high speed just until firm peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Refrigerate. Clean and dry the beaters if using a handheld electric whisk.
  • Make the zabaglione. Using electric beaters, whisk egg yolks, 100g (⅔ cup) sugar and hazelnut liquor together in a separate heatproof bowl until pale and slightly fluffy.
    Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Continue to beat on medium speed, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, until the zabaglione is thick, almost doubled in volume, and the beaters leave a trail when you lift them, about 5-10 minutes. (Don't be tempted to turn the water up to boiling as it may overcook the egg).
  • Add chocolate and Nutella. With the bowl still on the saucepan, add the chopped chocolate and 150g (½ cup) Nutella and stir until melted and combined.
    If the mixture seizes and becomes a thick lump in the bowl, don't panic, add ¼ cup of boiling water, a little at a time. Stir until the chocolate zabaglione loosens and becomes a smooth consistency again.
    Remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside.
  • Whip egg whites. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add the remaining 50g (⅓ cup) sugar and whip until well combined (about another minute).
  • Combine ingredients together. Using a spatula, gently fold cream into the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by egg whites. Fold gently and keep as much air in the mixture as possible to ensure your semifreddo stays light.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and freeze, then serve! Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared loaf pan and smooth flat with an offset spatula. Freeze for a minimum of 6 hours or until set but preferably overnight.
    When ready to serve: Remove the semifreddo from the freezer, open up the plastic wrap and invert it onto a serving plate. Carefully remove the remaining plastic wrap. There will be wrinkled impressions on the sides of the semifreddo - if you prefer a smooth finish, run a hot butter knife along the surface.
    Warm the remaining Nutella in the microwave for a couple of seconds, then drizzle it over the top of the semifreddo and sprinkle over the chopped, toasted hazelnuts.


Step-by-Step Photos: My blog post includes helpful step-by-step photos to help guide you through making this recipe.
To Store: Keep semifreddo wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To toast hazelnuts: Place nuts on a baking tray and into a 160C (320) oven for ten minutes until golden.
TIP 1: Line the freezer pan with clingfilm. This is the only way to take the semifreddo out of the pan.
TIP 2: Finish whipping the cream by hand. You have a better feel of the texture of the cream and won't overwhip it.
TIP 3: Add boiling water to seized chocolate. This is the best trick if your chocolate seizes when adding it to the zabaglione. It will create a smooth mixture in a matter of moments.
TIP 4: Fold the three components using the scoop and fold method. And take your time- this process involves patience!


Calories: 316kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 6gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 37mgPotassium: 180mgFiber: 3gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 522IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chocolate Semifreddo
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