Pistachio Semifreddo with a Flourless Crème Fraîche Brownie & Chocolate Sauce

Colleen Grapes, Dressler - July/August 2006

For 6 servings

Brittle:

• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 cup water

Cook sugar, juice, and water in heavy bottomed saucepan set over low heat until pale amber in color; remove from heat; spread evenly onto sheet pan lined with Silpat nonstick pad; cool; break into dime-size pieces; reserve.

Brownie:

• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• 2 tsps. baking powder
• 6 lg. eggs
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 1/4 cups butter
• 10 oz. Valrhona Guianduja chocolate
• 2 tsps. vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup crème fraîche, lightly whipped

  1. Heat oven to 325°F.

  2. Sift cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder into small bowl; reserve.

  3. Whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl until thickened; reserve.

  4. Place butter, chocolate, and vanilla in double boiler; melt; remove from heat; cool slightly; fold in crème fraîche.

  5. Fold chocolate into eggs; fold in sifted ingredients; transfer to 12" by 12" nonstick baking pan; bake 15 minutes; rotate pan 180 degrees; bake 15 minutes; remove from oven; cool; reserve in refrigerator.

Chocolate sauce:

• 7 oz. Valrhona Caraque chocolate, chopped
• 7 oz. Valrhona Guianduja chocolate, chopped
• 1 1/4 cups whole milk
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter

  1. Place chocolate in metal bowl.

  2. Scald milk and cream in heavy bottomed saucepan; pour over chocolate; stir until melted; whisk in butter; reserve.

Assembly:

• 1 cup egg whites
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup light corn syrup
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped
• 1/2 lb. pistachios, shelled, toasted, and coarsely chopped

  1. Place egg whites in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment; whisk at medium speed until soft peaks form; reserve.

  2. Heat water, sugar, and corn syrup to 240°F in heavy bottomed saucepan set over low heat; remove from heat; gradually add to whites with mixer set at low speed; beat until cool, firm, and glossy.

  3. Fold in cream, nuts, and brittle.

  4. Cut brownie to fit individual ring molds and place in bottom.

  5. Pipe semifreddo onto brownies in molds; freeze.

  6. To serve, unmold semifreddo; center on plate; garnish with chocolate sauce.

What to drink: Cognac, 20 year old Port, or a young Riesling