For dessert on our anniversary, I wanted to make something simple and refreshing (it is August in DC, after all), something that seemed special and unusual, and most of all, something that wouldn’t require me slaving over the stove when I ought to be drinking wine and relaxing with hubby. A semifreddo perfectly fit my requirements. I had made one before – once – a few years ago for an Easter dinner with my parents and their close friends (practically my second set of parents) and it had been the most popular dish of the meal. I started thinking back to that semifreddo and wondering why I don’t make them more often. They are simple, easy, light, refreshing, and people go crazy for them. Plus, semifreddo is a frozen dessert that doesn’t require me to lug out my ice cream maker. What more could I want for an anniversary dessert? I whipped this up early in the morning before work and it sat in the freezer all day. 10 minutes of beating eggs and cream in the morning, and dessert was just about done. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Lemon and Almond Semifreddo
4 egg whites (be sure they are very fresh and don’t drop any shell, because they won’t be cooked)
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I like ceylon)
1 cup coarsely ground almond tea biscuits (or amaretti)
1 package frozen raspberries, thawed
- Puree the raspberries with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Press through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Cover and chill, up to 2 days.
- Line a loaf pan with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving considerable overhang. Place in freezer to chill while you proceed with the recipe.
- Using a hand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Using the same beaters, but a different bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar (3/4 cup) and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold a large spoonful of the whipped cream into the beaten eggs, then fold the beaten eggs into the cream in 2 additions. Add cinnamon, lemon zest and 3/4 cup of the crushed biscuits into the mixture and fold gently until the flavorings are distributed throughout.
- Transfer mixture into prepared loaf pan, cover with the overhanging plastic wrap, and freeze at least 4 hours and up to a day.
- To serve, unmold and peel off plastic wrap. Slice and our raspberry sauce over, then sprinkle reserved biscuit crumbs over slices.
Yield: Serves 8-10 (or 2 for an anniversary, with considerable leftovers!)
Source: Adapted from Epicurious.com.
Note: I think this would also be nice with sliced almonds substituted for the crushed tea biscuits, but my husband doesn’t care for nuts running amok in desserts, so I stuck with the recipe’s recommendation on that one. If you try substituting sliced almonds, though, tell me what you think!