photo by sam d
(the following is the semifreddo recipe I used in my blog post Foodbuzz 24,24,24: The Humble Egg Dresses for Dinner)
I love semifreddo. The cold/soft/melty texture, made by combining whipped eggs and whipped cream, is light and fanciful and satisfying.
I also love lemon curd. I love its tartness, its texture, and, when made with Pete & Jen's eggs, its fluorescent yellow color.
I also love almonds. I love almonds in all its' forms: paste and marzipan and raw and toasted and milk and brittle and cookies and frangipane etc. I've never met an almond I didn't like.
So I combined them.
From the outside, the semifreddo was, well, boring. It had a dull yellow color, a product of the yolks in the whipped meringue and the toasted almonds. It was round, providing absolutely no visual interest. To give a hint about its contents, I placed a dollop of lemon-curd infused creme chantilly on it and added a drop of pure, unadulterated lemon curd to the side.
Once hit with a fork and broken into, the semifreddo reveals its contents: two chewy, slightly crunchy almond meringue cookies and cool disk of lemon curd wedged between. It is an addictive dessert.
Toasted Almond Semifreddo with Lemon Curd
Decide ahead which mold you are going to use for your semifreddo. You can use anything you like, really. You just need to know for the almond meringue shape. I used a 3" round, which was huge. Line your mold with parchment - if you don't, it will be very hard to remove your semifreddo without melting it too much.
Almond Meringue cookie
- 1 C sugar
- 1/2 C egg whites
- 1 C ground Almonds
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
Trace the mold you are going to use onto parchment paper. You will need two layers per semifreddo (or more, if you are working with a loaf pan and like meringue), so trace it enough times to produce the requisite number of pieces you'll need (number of molds you are using x 2 at least). Place on sheetpan(s), marker side down (no icky ink on your meringue, please).
Combine sugar, salt and eggs and in a double boiler whisk over heat until about 140 degrees. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add in bitter almond extract. Fold in almonds. Pipe immediately into traced mold template.
Bake for 1.5 to two hours, or until dry. It will soften up in the freezer over time. Just don't overbake or burn it.
If you are not using it right away, store in an airtight container. Holds up to 3 days.
Lemon Curd - Makes approximately 1-1/2 Cups
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 C sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- Zest and Juice of two large lemons, approximately 1/2 C
- 4 oz butter
In a bain marie (double boiler) over simmering water OR directly over heat in a heavy-bottomed pan, combine the butter, egg yolks, zest, sugar, salt and juice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until thick. Push through a strainer to remove zest and and coagulated egg. Allow to cool then use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
You'll use about 1/2 of this recipe in your semifreddo.
Toasted Almond Semifreddo
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 C sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1-1/3 C heavy cream
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 3/4 C toasted almond flour (toast almonds and grind them or use almond flour and gently toast in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until light gold in color)
- 1/2 t bitter almond extract
- 1 T B&B Liqueur
Combine eggs and salt and sugar in bowl of stand mixer and whisk over a bain marie until sugar is dissolved and mixture feels hot to the touch. Mix on med-high speed until cooled and slightly firmer than ribbon stage. Fold in almonds and B&B Liqueur.
Whip cream with almond and vanilla extracts until almost firm - do not overwhip.
Gently fold the egg mixture into the whipped cream.
TO ASSEMBLE THE SEMIFREDDO:
In your parchment-lined mold or molds, place a meringue cookie.
Spoon in enough semifreddo mixture to cover it.
Using a pastry bag or a spoon, place a dollop of lemon curd in the center of the mold (or, if you are using a loaf pan, put a long thick line down the middle). Cover with semifredo.
Place another cookie on top of the semifreddo, and spoon more semifreddo over top to cover. Freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
Remove from freezer at least 2 minutes before serving to allow semifreddo to soften up.
Here's what it looks like when made in a loaf pan:
Watch me make it here: