Meet Ice Cream's Way Easier Cousin
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You know what's not a particularly (or even a little bit) creative or original food writing topic for the middle of summer? Making the case for frozen desserts. You know who's going to do it anyway? Me. For two reasons: 1) The heat zaps your brain a little bit, and sometimes groundbreaking material just isn't in the cards. 2) The particular frozen dessert I want to talk about today is so under-appreciated that I basically have no choice.
Semifreddo (which means "half frozen" in Italian) is basically whipped cream mixed with beaten egg yolks and beaten egg whites and then frozen in a loaf pan. Almost nobody makes it, which is too bad, because what you get is rich, velvety, and very much akin to ice cream.
Its main selling point (other than being really delicious and easy) is that you can make it without an ice cream machine; a loaf pan and and electric mixer are really the only equipment you need. You use the mixer to beat (separately) whipped cream, eggs yolks and whites (both with a little sugar), then you gently fold them all together, incorporating any number of flavorings along the way (keep reading), dump the mixture into a plastic-wrap-lined loaf pan, freeze until firm, and cut it into slices. The surface of the semifreddo will get a little wrinkled because of the plastic wrap; to smooth it out (if you care), dip an offset spatula or spoon in warm water and run it across the top.
The main recipe here is for a classic strawberry semifreddo (which uses fresh strawberry purée), but don't ignore the variations at the bottom, which include peach-vanilla, pistachio-cardamom, chocolate, peanut butter, and espresso-white chocolate. If you can't choose one (why should you have to?), there are also instructions for a two-tone semifreddo where you freeze one flavor on top of the other (if you're thinking that the chocolate and peanut butter variations would play nicely together, you'd be right).
And in case you don't read all the way to bottom of the recipe, I feel obligated to shout out the very last variation, a semifreddo pie made by pressing a cookie crumb crust (graham crackers, gingersnaps, sugar or chocolate wafer cookies) into the bottom of the loaf pan. It's a perfect pie for summer. It's even a little bit creative and original, too. Enjoy the weekend.
Talk To Me, Goose!
Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.