Friday, January 25, 2008

it's semi-freezing outside

I do have an ice cream maker, but this is different. The last two times we had dinner at nice Italian restaurants, we were served a pre-dessert dessert of Semifreddo with Strawberry Soup. Two different restaurants, two extremely similar dishes, both delicious. It's a texture thing, Semifreddo is certainly denser than ice cream because it's not churned, yet there was a lightness to the flavor that has been haunting my dreams ever since. The whole point of Semifreddo is that it's easy to make, and indeed, that's very true.

I made a custard-style Mascarpone Semifreddo with a lemony background, served with raspberry "soup". The prep took all of 15 minutes; it's the 8+ hours of freezing time that will really kill you. Or maybe the fact that there are whole eggs that never actually get cooked could be what kills you, but I takes risks for deliciousness. It's worth it. Recipe after the jump:


For the Semifreddo:
1/2 pound (about 1 cup) mascarpone
3 large eggs, separated (room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla, or vanilla bean
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar

For the Raspberry Soup:
1 10-oz package frozen raspberries, or the equivalent fresh
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Line a metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing about 2 inches of overhang on the edges. Place in freezer while prepping the Semifreddo. In a large mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest and beat with an electric mixer until well combined. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture. Pour into the plastic-lined loaf pan and cover the surface with the plastic overhang. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

In a small saucepan, combine raspberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar. Strain seeds out with a fine mesh strainer. Allow to cool. Slice Semifreddo into bars and serve with the chilled raspberry soup.

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