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Walnut Semifreddo with Walnut Cherry Brownies and Cherry Compote

Walnut Semifreddo with Walnut Cherry Brownies and Cherry Compote

This Walnut Semifreddo with Walnut Cherry Brownies and Cherry Compote is beautifully presented and it is the ultimate Christmas dessert! Walnuts, cherries, and chocolate are a match made in heaven!
Course Dessert
Cuisine International
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6
Author Manuela Zangara

Ingredients

Walnut and Cherry Brownie Base

  • 100 gms – 1 cup walnuts
  • 300 gms – 10 oz. cherries pitted and halved
  • 165 gms – 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 130 gms + 2 tbsp – 2/3 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar divided
  • 265 gms – 9 oz. dark chocolate chopped
  • 150 gms – 2/3 cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

Cherry Compote

  • 400 gms – 14 oz. cherries pitted and halved
  • 95 ml – 3 oz. Maraschino liqueur or Brandy or orange juice
  • 40 gms – 1/5 cup granulated sugar

Walnut and Cherry Bark

  • 450 gms – 1 lb. dark chocolate chopped
  • 85 gms – ¾ cup walnuts toasted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup candied cherries roughly chopped
  • 50 gms – 1 ¾ oz. crunchy salted caramel chocolate chopped

Walnut Semifreddo

  • 120 gms – 1 ¼ cups walnuts
  • 150 gms – ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 300 ml – 1 ¼ cups cream to be whipped with 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 125 ml – ½ cup water

Instructions

Walnut and Cherry Brownie Base

  1. Put the pitted cherries and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small pan and toss well to combine.
  2. Roast the cherries in a preheated oven at 230°C – 445°F for 10 minutes, or until they begin to release their juices.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 175°C – 350°F.
  4. Line a 20x30cm (8x12 inches) baking pan with baking paper. To make sure the baking paper covers the full area of the pan, wet it completely and squeeze the water out. This way, it will become pliable and easier to work with.
  5. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Fold in the walnuts and set aside to cool down.
  6. In a bowl, combine the eggs, the remaining sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until well combined.
  7. Add the warm chocolate mixture and stir until incorporated.
  8. Then add the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  9. Gently fold in the roasted cherries.
  10. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it with a spatula to make an even layer.
  11. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it (this will take approximately 35 minutes). Let the brownies cool down completely inside the pan (this will take about 2 hours).
  12. Remove the brownies from the pan and cut into 6 rounds of 7cm (2 ¾ inches) with a cookie cutter.
  13. Store in an air-tight container.

Cherry Compote

  1. Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the cherries are softened and start to release their juices (this will take about 10 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cherries to a medium bowl.
  2. Simmer the juices until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (this will take about 15-20 minutes). Pour the reduced syrup over the cherries. Let the compote cool down, then refrigerate until ready to assemble the dish.

Walnut and Cherry Bark

  1. Toast the walnuts in the oven at 210°C – 410°F for about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir them a couple of times, so they don’t get burnt. Let them cool down.
  2. Line a 20x30cm (8x12 inches) cookie sheet with baking paper and keep it aside.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate.
  4. When melted, quickly pour into the lined cookie sheet and spread evenly.
  5. Add the toasted walnuts, chopped candied cherries, and chopped crunchy salted caramel chocolate on the top.
  6. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or until firm.
  7. Cut into shards.

Walnut Semifreddo

  1. Toast the walnuts in the oven at 210°C – 410°F for about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir them a couple of times, so they don’t get burnt. Let them cool down completely, then use a mixer reduce them into a coarse powder.
  2. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and keep aside.
  3. Put the water and sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil and let this syrup simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool down.
  4. In the meantime, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Slowly add the lukewarm syrup while whisking. Transfer the mixture into a pot and cook in a double boiler for 10 minutes.  Let it cool down.
  5. When the egg and syrup mixture is cold, gently fold in the whipped cream and the minced toasted walnuts.
  6. Pour the mixture into 6 spherical moulds of 7cm (2 ¾ inches) in diameter. Keep them in the freezer overnight.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Serve the Walnut Semifreddo on top of the Walnut and Cherry Brownie bases. Drizzle with the Cherry Compote and top with some Walnut and Cherry Bark shards. You can also dip some fresh cherries in melted dark chocolate and roll them in crushed walnuts and use as decorations.
  2. Serve immediately.