The creamy blend of hazelnuts and chocolate known as “gianduia” is a signature of Piemonte. For this recipe, you will need an electric mixer to whip the egg whites. —Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, from Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking from the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant
Place an empty loaf pan in the freezer. Place the chocolate and gianduia in a metal or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water; stir until mostly melted. Pour in the cream and stir to blend thoroughly. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally until semi-firm.
Set two tablespoons/25 grams of sugar aside and place the remaining sugar (¾ cup plus two tablespoons) in a small saucepan. Pour the water over the sugar in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat and bring to a boil; do not stir after it comes to a boil. When the syrup is the consistency of corn syrup, and a candy/deep-fry thermometer reads 238 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pot from the heat.
Place the egg whites and a large pinch of salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With the machine running on low speed, gradually add the reserved two tablespoons/25 grams of sugar. Whisk to dissolve the sugar, about two minutes, then increase to high speed and whip until the whites form soft peaks.
With the machine still running, slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the whipped egg whites until they form glossy, stiff peaks, five to seven minutes. Use a spatula to gently fold in the melted chocolate and the chopped hazelnuts.
Fill the chilled loaf pan with the semifreddo mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, at least four hours, up to overnight. Semifreddo can be stored in the freezer for up to two weeks. Soften semifreddo in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until it’s fluffy enough to spoon. Serve in small glasses, dust with cocoa powder, and place a dollop of whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with croccante di nocciole.
Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking from the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant, by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi with Anna Kovel, is out now from Knopf