A semifreddo differs from a gelato in several ways: the composition is different, with a different fat content and also because, instead of using the batch freezer, you make it in a classical planetary mixer. This typically Italian dessert is a precursor of gelato. Soft and velvety, it contains less water and so less ice than gelato, and so of course it is not as cold.
The structure of the semifreddo can be achieved in two ways:
- Italian meringue, egg whites can make a lightweight, compact mixture.
- a pâte à bombe, egg yolks make the product more compact
Classic Italian semifreddo is made up of 50 parts air, 25% liquid and 25% dry residue. It contains 20-27% sugar and 15-24% fat as well as 5-10% other solids (fruit, chocolate, coffee, etc.). According to the type of semifreddo, the total solid content is between 50 and 55%. Cream, eggs and milk make it a high protein food.
Sugar, which acts as an antifreeze, is a key ingredient. Depending on the type of semifreddo, sugar is added to the base in different forms. In Italian meringue, together with egg whites, while in pâte à bombe the yolks are beaten and cooked together with the sugar.You can use alternative sugars to sucrose, but you must have plenty of experience with them, how they react and especially their ability to act as an antifreeze, and as a more or less intense sweetener than sucrose.
In addition, alcohol serves to lower the freezing point, which also makes it possible to use less sugar.
Semifreddi are kept frozen at -20°, but should be allowed to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. The semifreddo is a delicate product, so make sure to give your customers the right storage advice.
If the mass cools too slowly, you run the risk that ice crystals will form inside.
Make sure that you get the working temperature right, and that the temperature is lowered at the right speed.