Summer is in full swing here in the Eastern US with heat wave after heat wave rolling on through, punctuated by gusty thunderstorms – a summer made in heaven by my standards! I adore the heat (truth be told, living on a river helps when it gets crazy hot) and adore a good ‘ole thunderstorm. However, when company comes to call, throwing them in the river to keep them cool isn’t always the best option – so I love keeping a frosty semifreddo at the ready to help guests cool off.
Our local farm market was chock full of fresh organic blueberries this past week so I knew instantly what I could do with those little beauties – blueberry semifreddo. Semifreddo is a classic Italian dessert and a cross between ice cream and mousse. It is super simple to make and requires no ice cream maker – just a little time and imagination. Here I made the blueberries into a blueberry sauce that I swirled into the semifreddo – super simple yet super effective for chillin those guests down.
Let your imagination run wild. You could substitute any fresh berry or fruit if blueberries are not your thing. This is really tasty with fresh strawberries or peaches. Next set of guests are about to taste an experimental cantaloupe mint version that I have ready to go in the freezer. Or omit the fruit entirely and make a batch of simple delicious semifreddo sans fruit (maybe pour a bit of limoncello over each slice :-)).
Buon estate, tutti! Happy Summer – stay cool in the heat! Jay and I are off to Montalcino tomorrow (so excited) – look for pics on Instagram as we spend a relaxing week away.
Semifreddo is a classic Italian frozen dessert. Try this frosty version made with fresh blueberries to keep you cool in the summer heat!
• 3 cups blueberries plus additional
• 1/3 cup water
• 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
• Zest and juice 1/2 lemon
• ¼ teaspoon vanilla
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• Pinch nutmeg
• 2 cups chilled heavy cream
• 5 large egg yolks
• 1 cup sugar
• Fresh blueberries and mint for garnish
Make the blueberry puree: Place the 3 cups blueberries, water, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Prepare the pan: Line a 9 inch X 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap that covers the bottom and sides and overhangs with enough plastic to completely cover the semifreddo on the top.
Whip the cream: Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the custard: Prepare a hot water bath by setting a heat-proof bowl over a pan of water. Bring to a simmer. Be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water or the egg yolks will cook. In the large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. (You want the bowl large enough to accommodate the whipped cream as well.) Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and an instant-read thermometer reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the bowl from over the pan. Using a electric mixture, beat the egg yolk mixture until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. The mixture should be about double in size.
Assemble the semifreddo: Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture. Grab your prepared pan and blueberry mixture. Reserve about ½ cup of the blueberry mixture for topping. Gently add about 1/3 of the semifreddo mixture to the pan. Give it a good tap on the work surface to remove any air pockets. Add about 1/3 of the remaining blueberry mixture over and gently swirl into the semifreddo using a wooden skewer or knife tip. Add another 1/3 of the semifreddo mixture followed by the blueberry mixture. Swirl. Finish with a final round of the semifreddo and blueberry mixtures. Give it a final tap on the work surface. Fold the plastic overhang tightly over the top of the pan to cover. Please in the freezer and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.
To serve: Remove the semifreddo from the freezer and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Uncover and holding the pan in one hand, flip the pan onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Slice the semifreddo into 1 inch thick slices and top with the reserved blueberry sauce and a few mint leaves. Serve!
Sounds (and looks) wonderful, Michele! And if you like the heat, this is certainly the summer for you. 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying Montalcino.
Michele, this was absolutely fantastic! Once the semifreddo was in the pan, it was difficult to wait the 24 hours to finally taste it!! SO delicious!!!