Semifreddo, which means “half-cold” or “half frozen” in Italian, refers to the soft-but-not-too-soft texture of this sweet, creamy dessert. Made from a custard-like combo of heavy cream, eggs and crème fraîche, it’s an elevated take on your typical ice cream treat. Dig in!
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Yields: 10 servings
Total Time: 9 hours 50 mins
Pecan Crumble, for serving
unsalted butter, at room temp
(about 2 1/2 dry pints) fresh blueberries
3 to 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
large eggs, at room temp
vanilla bean, seeds scraped (reserve pod for other use)
Make pecan crumble:
- Heat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, pulse pecans, flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon until pecans are finely chopped.
- Add butter and pulse to combine. Spread onto a small parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. If loose, pinch together some clumps the size of blueberries; spread out and bake, stirring halfway through, until lightly browned, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool. Makes 1 1/3 cups. Set aside for serving.
Make blueberry sauce/filling:
- In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, 2/3 cup water and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil on medium-high, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook at a steady simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries have softened and sauce is slightly thickened, 25 to 35 minutes (you should have about 3 cups of sauce). Stir in lemon juice to taste (sauce should be sweet with a slightly tart edge). Transfer half to small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Transfer remaining half to a food processor and puree until smooth; cover and refrigerate while making semifreddo base.
Make semifreddo base:
- Place an electric mixer bowl in the refrigerator or freezer to chill. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a brisk simmer. Line a 10- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan (8-cup volume) with plastic wrap, leaving overhang on all 4 sides. In chilled bowl, using electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix heavy cream into crème fraîche on low speed. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until medium-soft peaks form, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (do not overmix; mixture should be neither stiff nor soupy). Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Clean mixer bowl and whisk attachment; then, in cleaned bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place over (but not in) pan of simmering water and cook, whisking, until mixture is very hot and beginning to lighten in color and turn foamy (160°F on instant-read thermometer), 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from water bath and, with electric mixer using whisk attachment, beat on high until mixture is cool and has lightened in color and nearly tripled in volume, 6 to 10 minutes. In 2 additions, fold chilled crème fraîche mixture into egg mixture until just combined.
- Spoon about 1/3 of semifreddo base into bottom of prepared pan, spreading evenly. Drizzle about 1/3 of pureed blueberry mixture on top of base and use butter knife to swirl in slightly to create marbled appearance. Repeat 2 more times with remaining semifreddo base and sauce. Fold plastic overhangs up to lightly cover top of semifreddo and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.
- To serve, uncover top of semifreddo and invert onto serving platter or cutting board. Let sit at room temp until beginning to soften just slightly at edges. Slice and serve with reserved blueberry sauce and Pecan Crumble if desired.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving): About 350 calories, 22 g fat (13 g saturated), 5 g protein, 115 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber
Did you make this recipe? Comment below!
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