|6 oz bittersweet chocolate • roughly chopped|
|4 1/2 oz meringue cookies|
|5 egg yolks • room temperature|
|5 egg whites • room temperature|
|1 cup superfine sugar|
|1/2 cup chestnut pureé|
|2 cup heavy cream|
|2 tsp vanilla|
|2 tbsp brandy|
Prepare two 8 ½ by 4 ½-inch loaf pans by lining them with plastic wrap, allowing 4 inches of plastic wrap to hang over the sides of the pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chocolate, and meringue cookies and process until the mixture is the texture of coarse bread crumbs. Set aside.
In the top of a double boiler (off of the heat) whisk the egg yolks, ½ cup of the sugar and the chestnut puree until smooth. (The puree will have flecks of chestnuts in it and therefore the mixture will not be silky smooth.) Place the double boiler over simmering water and beat the mixture with a handheld mixer on medium speed until the mixture becomes pale yellow and fluffy, forming thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the top of the double boiler and transfer to the top of an ice bath, whisking until the mixture is cold.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attached, whip the egg whites until foamy and soft peaks begin to form. While continuing to beat, add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, beating until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
In a separate bowl, using a hand held mixer, whip the heavy cream with the vanilla at medium high speed until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the chestnut mixture using a large rubber spatula.
Fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture, taking care not to deflate the egg whites. Gently fold the whipped cream and brandy into the chestnut and egg white mixture in the same fashion.
Spread 2 tablespoons of the chocolate-meringue mixture over the bottom of each plastic-lined pan.
Spoon 2 cups of the chestnut cream over the chocolate and meringue, being careful to keep the mixtures in two separate layers. Prepare a second layer by spreading another two tablespoons of the chocolate meringue mixture on top of the chestnut cream. Spoon another 2 cups of the chestnut cream on top and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Fold the plastic over the top of the loaf pan and place it in the freezer. The semifreddo should be frozen for at least 8 hours before serving. It will keep for up to 1 week in the freezer. Repeat the process with the second loaf pan and the remaining chestnut cream and chocolate-meringue mixture.
To serve the semifreddo, remove it from the freezer and allow it to soften for just a few minutes.
Gently unwrap the plastic and carefully lift the semifreddo out of the pan. Completely remove the plastic and invert the semifreddo so that the chocolate is on top. Using a slicing knife, cut the semifreddo into ¾ to 1-inch thick slices. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, copyright MSLO, Inc., all rights reserved. (EMERIL’S TABLE on HALLMARK CHANNEL, HOLIDAY COOKING FOR A CROWD, premiering Wednesday, March 14 at 12:00pm ET/CT)