A few years ago, I had a whirlwind love affair with a gelato shop while on a solo trip to Dubrovnik. I wanted a new part of me to emerge on this trip and decided that the only path to true personal discovery is through an ice cream cone. Exactly one new flavor later, I stopped looking. This is my homage to the unrequited love of that gelato and the warm summer nights spent wondering aimlessly throughout Old Town. And don't think the irony of an Italian and Middle Eastern mashup epitomizing a Croatian night is lost on me.
In a medium bowl
10 egg yolks
2/3 cups (157g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (342g) heavy cream
1 box instant pistachio pudding mix
1/2 cup (227g) halva
3 graham cracker sheets, crushed
On the sidelines
1/4 cup or so Nutella, warmed
Line a 9x5 loaf pan with plastic wrap. This will make it easier to remove the semifreddo in the end.
Make the crust. In a small food processor, blitz together the halva and graham crackers. Press the mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan.
Make the custard. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and bring it to a simmer over medium to medium-low heat. In the large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the egg mixture becomes pale yellow, glossy, and thick. Check the temperature and keep whisking until you reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This should take roughly 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool for about 20 minutes.
Beat the heavy cream and pudding mix to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled egg mixture. Try not to deflate the cream so mix just until combined.
Pour half the custard mix in the prepared pan. Drizzle a few heaping tablespoons of the warm Nutella and then top with the remaining half of custard. Drizzle some more Nutella. Run a butter knife throughout the pan to create swirls throughout the semifreddo. Cover the top of the custard with the excess plastic wrap from the sides of the pan.
Place the pan in the freezer and freeze overnight.
When ready to serve, remove the pan from the freezer and gently run a small knife around the sides. Pull on the plastic wrap to help remove the semifreddo from the pan. Place on a serving platter or plate and remove the plastic wrap.
Cover the semifreddo in heaps of Swiss meringue and lightly (or deeply) toast with a kitchen torch. Sprinkle a few pistachios on top and serve.