Sunday, August 11, 2013

Spicy Berry Semifreddo

I've been seeing semifreddo recipes all over the place with summer here, and although I'm more of a cake or cookie girl, it's been so damn hot that something cold sounded amazing. Don't let the word "semifreddo" - which might seem intimidating - fool you, this is just easy, delicious ice cream minus the egg yolks and with a lot less effort! Berries are my personal favorite fruit, but you could make this with a lot of fruits! I added a little cayenne and salt because as you know if you read this blog, I love a spicy sweet or a salty sweet. This does have to chill overnight, but honestly, that makes it even easier. Do this a few days ahead, and serve when you are ready. Keep the extra puree in the fridge: I've used it as a stir in for yogurt and frozen it to make almost a sorbet. If it's hot where you are, go get some berries and get to work. Get the semi and the freddo after the jump!

Spicy Berry Semifreddo (Serves 4-6)
You will need: 
  • 1.25 lbs blackberries
  • .25 lbs blueberries
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Saran Wrap

Line a regularly sized deep dish loaf pan (9 x 5 or 10 x 3 or similar) with your plastic wrap. I do one length wise, and one width wise, so that you have plenty of overhang to wrap back over the top. 

Mix berries, cayenne, brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, stir to combine. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the berries begin to get juicy, about 4-5 minutes. Add cornstarch. Continue to cook until berries are super soft and a thick liquid is present, about 5-7 minutes longer. Cool for 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender or Vitamix. Puree for 4 minutes on high until very smooth. Optionally you can strain this mixture or not. I love the seeds in the blackberries and think it gives it a delicious rustic texture. If you like yours smooth, strain away! Refrigerate until cool - about 1.5 hours. This is important because you don't want to add warm puree to the cold cream and egg whites! 

Wait about an hour to start the next step. Note - at this time, you'll also want to place your cream in the freezer for about half an hour unless your fridge is super cold. Whisk the egg whites, a pinch of salt, and the rest of the sugar (2/3 C) in a medium heatproof bowl or use a traditional double boiler if you have one. If you are using the bowl, place it over a small saucepan of simmering water on medium low heat, make sure the bottom doesn't touch the water or it will cook the whites. Gently heat the egg whites, whisking constantly, until all of the sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 4-5 minutes - you will notice at this time that the volume of the egg whites is getting bigger. Remove the whites, which can stay in the bowl or transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add your vanilla and beat on high speed until mixture has tripled in size, and is totally cool to the touch - again you won't want to add anything warm to the cold whipped cream.

In a separate bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Fold 1/2 of the cream into the egg whites and stir/fold with a spatula until barely combined. Fold the remaining whipped cream in, again until barely combined. Fold in 1 C of the purée - you can use a little more or a little less) so that you have a nice marbled effect - you don't want to combine it so much that it's a solid bar.

Pour semifreddo mixture into pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Fold edges of the plastic wrap over so that it covers the top and chill 8 hours or overnight. To serve, there are two options. More difficult: lift semifreddo from the pan using the plastic wrap and gently lift from pan. Flip onto serving dish and unwrap. Easy: just scoop it out of the pan like ice cream! Serve with extra berry puree on the side or spooned over the top. AMAZING!

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