My sisters are both great at making ice cream but for some reason it has always intimidated me. I can clean a fish and make a killer chocolate soufflé but all of the steps in ice cream plus the large amount a patience necessary always turned me off to making it. That is, until I was flipping through the most recent Bon Appetit and saw a recipe for semifreddo – no ice cream machine necessary! The recipe below is based off of their’s with a few tweaks and a healthy dose of pistachios added in.
Semifreddo is like ice cream’s more refined cousin. In this recipe, whipped cream and an italian meringue are combined and then a smooth not-too-sweet plum puree is folded in creating ribbons of yumminess. The mixture is poured into a loaf pan before being topped with chopped pistachios and frozen. After a few hours in the fridge you have a beautiful and easy to serve dessert that will give any brownie sunday a run for it’s money!
Plum Semifreddo with Pistachios (Serves 8)
- 1 1/2 lbs ripe plums, cut into chucks with the skin still on
- 1 cup sugar
- kosher salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1/3 cup unsalted roasted pistachios, chopped coarsely
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Cut 2 large rectangles of plastic wrap. Line pan with plastic wrap by placing one sheet in the pan length-wise and one width-wise. Make sure there is ample plastic wrap draped over each side.
- Combine plums, 1/3 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Cover and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the plums start to break down. Uncover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the plums start to fall apart.
- Puree plum sauce in a blender or food processor until very smooth. If desired, strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Let cool. Set aside ~1 cup for serving.
- Combine egg whites, a pinch of salt, and 2/3 cup sugar in a medium metal bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (creating a double boiler). Heat, whisking the entire time, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (3-4 minutes). Remove bowl from saucepan, add vanilla and beat the mixture with an electric hand mixer on high speed until it has tripled in volume, is glossy, and completely cool (about 10 minutes).
- Clean beaters before whipping cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks form.
- Fold 1/3 of whipped cream into meringue until just combined. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Fold in plum puree just until large streaks appear throughout mixture – this will create the ribbon-like look once frozen.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with pistachios, fold plastic wrap overhang over top snuggly, and freeze until firm (6-8 hrs).
TO SERVE: Gently lift semifreddo from pan using plastic overhang. Transfer to a large platter, slice 1″ thick, transfer to plates, and serve with reserved plum puree.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit – http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/plum-semifreddo