“I he screamed, ran into the sea, kicked off his shoes and socks, ran into imagined waves. “ I remember the first time I read those opening four lines of Hollie McNish‘s When We Got to the Beach, how satisfying they felt, like they were almost written for me. Especially last year, when, after three months of confinement in a small apartment, we were finally able to move within the region and took a train from Ostiense to Santa Marinella, where we threw ourselves and everything into the sea. We really screamed, electric and ecstatic that we were free from our domestic cells, then we made headrests out of stones and ate ice cream on the beach. And now I’m thinking of the scene in Down by Law when Jack, Zack and Roberto walk through the cell chanting “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream”, over and over again. We clamored for sea, ice cream, candy, sandals, Bic knives, factor 30, mosquito coils, a sun-bleached T-shirt and the beach bag with last year’s sand still in the bottom.
Summer has begun, as has my freeze. Having scooped icebergs from the back of the refrigerator and from all sides of the freezer to make room, I got to work on my annual frozen liquids season, which is a big help for a nine-year-old who thinks he’s even more exciting than me. So little effort, so great and icy rewards. So far this year, we have made cherry slush, lemon and melon slush, orange squash, and peppermint syrup candies. Also, semifreddo coffee, loosely based on an image I saw years ago of something called the mocha slice, a log of milky brown ice cream with a thin sponge base and a thin and delicate chocolate shell. I have dreamed of making this pudding: how satisfying and beautiful it would be, how I would make a short film of Vincenzo pouring the chocolate on top and another of him cutting a slice.
More than coffee, I’d describe it as a semi-fried cappuccino, the espresso shots smoothed by cream and egg, then revived by icy bits. Three tablespoons of powdered sugar and one of icing sugar along with the cream for a not too sweet end result, but add another of powdered sugar if you like sweets.
Now the idea is to pour the melted chocolate over the curdled semifreddo, lower it with a knife, so that it covers the loaf like a satin blanket, then put it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes to set. I’m not going to lie: three attempts and the imagined satin coat was – and still is (as you can see in my photograph) – a poorly plastered wall; a Wall Party instead of a Magnum. I may have screamed on the inside, but then I put my worries aside like an annoying fly and flung myself into a cheery, imperfect summer pudding: cappuccino meets vanilla ice cream, meets Viennetta, meets dark chocolate, meets Encounter Feast and the Magnum magic shell cover. once begged, he meets summer.
Chocolate Coated Coffee Semifreddo
Homework 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Freeze 10 hours +
It serves 6-8
120 ml strong coffee (i.e. 4 espresso shots)
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons caster sugar
400 ml of single or double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
250g dark chocolate, broken
50 ml of vegetable oil
Line a loaf pan with cling film, then prepare the coffee and let it cool.
Using a balloon or electric mixer, beat the yolks and powdered sugar until pale, fluffy, and twice the size. Add the coffee little by little, stirring between each addition (this will dilute the egg mixture).
In another bowl, beat the cream and icing sugar until stiff peaks form. Carefully and delicately incorporate the cream into the egg and coffee mixture; again, it will dilute and not completely mix, but don’t worry.
Pour the mixture into the can and freeze for at least 10 hours and better yet overnight, because it needs to be completely frozen to withstand the optional chocolate coating.
Invert the semifreddo on a plate and remove the cling film. Melt the broken chocolate and vegetable oil in a small bowl suspended over boiling water, then cool slightly. Pour over the melted chocolate so it completely covers the bread, then put it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes to set. Attend.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism