Bourbon caramel semifreddo

Bourbon Caramel Semifreddo w/ Candied Salted Pecans

First food post on the new blog! I hope you are excited as we are. This new look makes feel completely invigorated. I have a list tacked up in my kitchen of things to make, and that’s just for May. Once the seasonal fruits and vegetables come in to play, it’s game on baby! I can’t wait for the weekend trips to the farmer’s market to start!

We could not think of a better recipe/item to kick off this season of cold treats. My friends, this is happiness in every spoonful. Salty, sweet, cold, creamy. It ticks every box for texture and balance of flavor for us. I made it on a whim, and as soon as Frank scraped the last spoon full out of the pan, he realized he ate it all before he got around to taking pictures. Silly man, but he still won. I made it again. It turned out just as amazing. This time around he took pictures first, yet was quite happy to finish off the bowl after he was done.

I would say there are a few points in this recipe where you can stuff up if not paying complete attention. First with the salted candied pecans make sure to preheat your oven so it’s nice and hot before you even start. You need to have enough heat to toast the pecans so they still have some crunch without burning. You can take the candied pecan pretty far, into a deep caramel. It will get a little bitter and that bitter salty taste will just complement the semifreddo so well. Then you have the hot caramel sauce and you want to take it far enough until you get a nice dark caramel tint to it before adding in the cream. Just be careful adding the hot caramel sauce to the egg yolks because you don’t want to spill any on you. It will still be quite hot, which will safely bring the yolks up to temperature. Also, don’t worry about any chunks of the caramel in the mix. They just add a nice random caramel hit to the finished product. The final note has got to be the egg whites and cream. Do not worry about over mixing the egg whites, take them to a very stiff firm peak. As for the whipped cream, take it to a very thick and heavy stiff stage. Just teetering on the edge of becoming like a whipped butter.

We have made this both with and without the bourbon. It is really quite good without it, but I highly recommend you do not omit the bourbon because it makes this ice cream/semifreddo into something wonderful by a large margin. It adds a huge a depth of flavor to the caramel and the candied nuts. I will leave it up to you to be the final judge, though. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Bourbon Caramel Semifreddo w/ Candied Salted Pecans

on May 1st, 2012

Salty, sweet, cold, creamy, this semifreddo hits all the right notes and should keep everyone in the house happy until it’s all gone.

Yield: One full 5×9 loaf pan


Bourbon Candied Salted Pecans
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 50g frosting (powdered) Sugar
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 75g pecans, chopped roughly
Bourbon Caramel Semifreddo
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 500ml heavy whipping cream
  • 150g sugar, divided (100g, 25g, 25g)
Bourbon Caramel
    100g sugar
    2 tbsp bourbon
    1 tbsp butter
    2 tbsp heavy cream


Bourbon Candied Salted Pecans
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper or silpat and set aside. In a small bowl combine the salt, sugar, and bourbon. Mix until the constancy of a batter. If you need to, add more bourbon to thin it out by adding 1/4 tsp at a time. You don’t want this mixture to be too thick or too thin. Once the mixture is the right consistency, add in your pecans and toss until all the pecans are coated in the sugar mixture. Spread in an even layer on the silpat. Do not spread to the edge, rather keep it centered the caramel will spread out as it bakes. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bubbles have slowed down bursting and are a nice deep caramel color. Remove and let cool completely.
  2. Once completely cool, break into large shards and transfer to a large zip-lock bag removing most of the air. With a mallet or rolling pin, smash it to break up the shards into small pieces. Once the pieces are a size that you like, place the bag of smashed bits into the refrigerator until ready to use.
Bourbon Caramel Semifreddo
  1. Prepare a large loaf pan by lining it with a double layer of cling film. Divide the eggs by putting the yolks into a large bowl fitted for your stand mixer, seperating the egg whites into a medium-sized (3 quart) bowl. Put the heavy cream into another medium-size bowl (3 quart) and place in the refrigerator to completely chill.
  2. Add 100g of sugar to the egg yolks and, on medium speed whisk in your stand mixer until tripled in volume. While the yolks are whisking, begin to make the caramel.
Bourbon Caramel
  1. Combine sugar, bourbon and butter in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk it until it all the sugar is wet and it begins to bubble. Keep a close eye on it while it cooks at this point. Once it turns a lovely deep golden bronze color remove from heat, and whisk in the heavy cream. It will bubble up high once you add in the cream and this is why you want a bigger pan. Keep whisking until the mixture has calmed down and is bubbling and looking more like a caramel. At this point it is ready to add to the egg yolks. With your mixer still on medium speed slowly trickle the caramel into the whisked yolks. Once all the caramel has been poured in scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer back on to medium-high speed and let it whisk until cool and thick. While the yolk mixture is whisking to cool down move on to your egg whites and heavy cream.
  2. With a hand mixer (or by hand) whisk up the egg whites until foamy. While whisking gradually add in 25g of sugar. Continue whisking until you form stiff peaks, set aside.
  3. Remove the bowl of heavy cream from the refrigerator and with clean beaters of your hand mixer – or a new clean whisk if doing by hand – whisk until thick and begin to gently add in 25g of sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated into the cream whisk until stiff peaks form. Be VERY careful, heavy cream can go from stiff peaks to sweet butter in a second if you are not careful.
  4. By now your egg yolk caramel mixture should be fairly thick and cool. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk caramel mixture to lighten it. You don’t have to be too gentle to fold in the first bit. Then fold in half of the remaining whites gently until incorporated. Fold in the remaining whipped whites until completely incorporated.
  5. Into the mixture gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped heavy cream, once incorporated fold in half of the remaining whipped heavy cream. After the second portion of whipped cream has been incorporated, remove the bag of crushed candied pecans and sprinkle into the mixture and add the remaining whipped heavy cream on top of the candied pecans. Begin to gently fold in the cream and candied pecans until completely incorporated. One it is completely incorporated pour into the prepared loaf pan, and freeze 8 hours or overnight.

Inspired by: Donna Hay

10 comments leave a comment →

  1. I’ve just made this recipe and it’s in the freezer now. I can’t wait to try the final version. How long before serving should I take it out of the freezer, or is it fine to serve immediately from the freezer?

    • You can serve it immediately from the freezer, it’s going to be a soft set ice cream. More like a frozen mousse. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Hi Lia! Absolutely love the idea of a boozy semifreddo – I am a recipe hunter for the food blogger network and daily recipe e-newsletter NoshOn.It, and we would love to feature you and your recipe on our site. I was going to send you an email, but the link doesn’t appear to be working… If you could shoot me an email so we could talk about a NoshOn.It feature, that would be great. Hope to hear from you soon!

    • Maker’s Mark, can find it at the liquor store in tiny bottles so none goes to waste

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