Semifreddo means semi-frozen. In a perfectly delicious kind of way. You simply place some cream and custard in a pan and store it away in the freezer. Unlike ice, it doesn’t freeze hard, but it does freeze to a softer texture, just like ice cream. Feeling intrigued?
For instance, if semifreddo is frozen cream and custard, and ice cream is frozen cream and custard, what distinguishes the two decadent pleasures? Apparently, the churn.
Experts explain that the relentless shaking put on ice cream after the initial freeze breaks down ice crystals, producing a smooth, creamy scoop. But, just one bite of luscious semifreddo throws this distinction into question. Semifreddo dishes up a smooth, creamy slab.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
- 6 ounces fresh blackberries
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 7 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 18 ounces fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 large lemons
Recipe for a Delicious Semifreddo
Cover a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang. Spread almonds around the rim. Set back. Whip cream to sturdy peaks. Chill.
Finely zest and juice the lemons. Measure 5 teaspoons zest and 1/2 cup juice into the tank of an electric mixer. (Save leftover zest and juice for the berries.) Stir in water, yolks, and salt. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until 165 degrees deep, around 8 minutes. Take the pan off the heat.
Using an electric mixer, beat yolk mixture until pale, dense, and calm, about 6 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Scrape into prepared loaf tub. Smooth top. Cover with plastic tape, fold up the overhang, and chill overnight.
For berries, tumble the blueberries into a large saucepan. Stir in sugar, 1 tablespoon reserved lemon juice, 1 teaspoon reserved lemon zest and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, mashing much of the berries with the back of a slotted spoon, until saucy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch slurry; let thicken, 1 minute. Pull the pan off heat; whisk in blackberries.
Peel plastic from the top of semifreddo; invert onto a serving platter. Unwrap. Using a heavy knife dipped in hot water and rubbed off, slice semifreddo into eight 1-inch-thick slabs. Ladle about 1/3 cup warm berry sauce onto a dessert dish. Lay 1 slab semifreddo on top. Repeat. Serve. Be happy.
One of the greatest advantages of making semifreddo is that you don’t need an ice cream machine or other specialty equipment to produce it. If you have a whisk, a saucepan, and some bowls, you should bring together a semifreddo. Depending on the base recipe you chose, you might need some practice, but there are plenty of variations once you learn the technique.