(Photo, right, from Dom’s kefir in-site (4))
- See also: 1. Puddings & Frozen Desserts Menu;
Made with heavy cream and whipped eggs, this chilled relative of ice cream is a very rich frozen dessert. Semifreddo means ‘half chilled’ in Italian, and is made with cream (as opposed to gelato which is typically made with milk), and whipped egg meringue.
Before you begin, you must find the needed equipment for warming and chilling the semifreddo mixture. You don’t use an ice cream freezer for this frozen treat, because it is only ‘half-chilled.’
- for warming: use either a double boiler, or create a bain marie by finding a medium-size stainless steel bowl/saucepan that will fit into your larger saucepan without touching 1” of water in the pan. See Wikipedia (2) for more on ‘bain marie’. Photo, above left, from Wheat Free.org (3).
- for chilling: find a larger bowl or pan that will hold the top of your double boiler or the medium stainless steel bowl; see photo, at top of page, from Dom’s Kefir In-Site (4).
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking (1). The original uses strawberries, but you could use any berry, or a mix of berries, but you must remove the hull from blackberries (includes marion berries, loganberries, or any such berry with a distinct hull). Peaches or nectarines could also be used.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- ½ lb strawberries or other berries
- ½ cup Rapadura or white sugar (OR ¼ tsp stevia extract powder plus 1 Tbsp maple syrup or raw local honey)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream, chilled
- Topping (for serving
- 1 ½ lb fresh berries
- 2 – 3 Tbsp raw honey or sugar
- 2 – 3 tsp Grand Marnier or other liqueur
- loaf pan (8.5” x 4.5”)
- plastic wrap (optional)
- waxed paper (optional)
- 2-quart saucepan
- warming and chilling pans/bowls (see About Equipment, above)
- large chilled metal bowl
Method for Semifreddo
- Prep: Line loaf pan with plastic wrap (optional). This is recommended if using a metal pan. You do not need to line a pyrex glass pan.
- Allow eggs to warm to room temperature (they will beat better).
- Rinse fruit (take care with raspberries as they are very delicate). Remove hulls from strawberries or blackberries; slice strawberries ¼” thick; break up blackberries or raspberries into the individual tiny berries. If using peaches/nectarines, remove the peel and the pit, cut in half around the equator then slice into thin (¼”) wedges. You want enough fruit to make 1 ½ cups.
- Cook fruit: Sprinkle stevia or half the sugar (¼ cup) over fruit and toss. Transfer to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit softens and begins to break apart, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside
- Whip/whisk egg and sweetener: Add about 1” water to the bottom of double-boiler (or saucepan of bain marie), and bring to a gentle simmer. Fill the chilling bowl with about 2” ice water (do not add rock salt).
- Put yolks, whole egg, and maple syrup or honey (or the other half portion of sugar (¼ cup) in top of the double boiler (or the medium bowl of the bain marie) and whisk until well combined and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add reserved berries (or other fruit) and whisk to combine.
- Chill egg mixture: Set container into saucepan without letting it touch the simmering water, and whisk constantly until thick, and leaves a trail when you lift the whisk, about 3 – 4 minutes. Transfer bowl/pan to ice-water bath, whisking occasionally, until cooled, about 5 minutes.
- Beat Cream: While egg mixture is chilling, beat cream to medium peaks in chilled bowl, 2 – 3 minutes. A stand mixer (fitted with whisk) and it’s metal bowl are perfect for this.
- Finish: Gently fold the whipped cream into the berry/egg mixture until just combined. The pour into the loaf pan, smooth the surface, cover with plastic or waxed paper, and freeze at least 6 hours and up to overnight (12 hours).
Make Topping and Serve
- Toss berries with honey/sugar and liqueur to taste. Let sit until the berries release some of their juices, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the semifreddo from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes to soften slightly.
- If you did not line your pan with plastic wrap, set pan briefly in another pan of warm water to allow for easy release of the semifreddo. Invert pan onto plate or cutting board, remove plastic cover (if used), and slice. Transfer to serving plates/bowls and serve topped with the berry topping.
- FineCooking.com Strawberry Semifreddo recipe (finecooking.com/recipes/strawberries-cream-semifreddo.aspx)
- Wikipedia on ‘bain marie’ (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain-marie)
- Wheat-Free.org photo (wheat-free.org/assets/images/bain_marie_l.jpg)
- Dom’s Kefir In-Site photo (users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefir-faq.html#ingestingkg)