When the weather is a hot as it's been lately, frozen desserts are welcome treats. While our ice cream churn and Popsicle mold get a lot of use, one other frozen dessert we like, but don't make very often, is Semifreddo. For those who've never heard of it, semifreddo means “half-frozen” and is an Italian dessert made from whipped cream and eggs, along with a some sweetener and whatever flavors you wish to incorporate. It is often described as a frozen mousse, because it has a very light and airy texture. The main advantage is that you don't need an ice cream freezer to make it — a simple loaf pan makes the perfect mold!
When you use real food ingredients like raw or organic, grass-fed cream, pastured eggs, organic berries, and raw honey, the dessert is not only delicious — it's good for you! In my recipe, I used a mix of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, and I infused the cream with thyme to add a subtle herbaceous note. One of my favorite things with which to experiment in cooking is different flavor pairings, and I really enjoyed this one.
Honey-Sweetened Mixed Berry Semifreddo with Triple Berry Sauce
- 2 cups raw or pasteurized organic grass-fed cream, preferably raw
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, crushed between your fingers a bit to release flavor
- 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen organic berries (I used a frozen blend of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
- 4 room-temperature pastured eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raw honey
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the cream with the crushed thyme leaves. Bring to simmer; simmer one minute. Cover and remove from heat and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain cream into a small bowl. Place the small bowl of cream into a larger bowl filled with ice water and whisk until cream is chilled.
Add the thyme-infused cream to the remaining 1-1/2 cups of cream and whip until medium peaks form. Transfer cream to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Whip the egg whites until medium peaks form, fold into whipped cream.
Combine egg yolks, vanilla, and honey and beat until the yolks turn light and fluffy.
In a blender or food processor, combine yolk mixture with berries and process until the berries are smooth, but not completely puréed. Fold this into the whipped cream and egg whites.
Line a 9″x5″ loaf pan with parchment paper, trying to get the paper as smooth as possible in along the inside edges of the pan. Pour mixture into pan, cover, and freeze until set, at least 4 hours.
To serve, uncover, invert onto a platter, and remove the parchment paper. With a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut into slices about an inch thick. If desired, top with Triple Berry Sauce (recipe below). Enjoy!
Triple Berry Sauce
- 1 cup mixed raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, mashed
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons sucanat
In a small saucepan, combine mashed berries, arrowroot powder, and sucanat. Bring to a low boil, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and store in the refrigerator. Bonus: this makes a really yummy milk mix-in, too! Or topping for pancakes, or… 🙂
Because I don't have a good source of raw cream (goat's milk doesn't separate very well) I used organic, grass-fed pasteurized cream. Sadly, I couldn't find any that wasn't ultra heat-treated. I definitely recommend raw over pasteurized, and non-UHT over UHT!
If you need a dairy-free option, I would think that whipped coconut cream would make a good substitute, though I haven't tried it that way. If you do, let me know how it works!
Have you ever had a semifreddo before? What flavor combinations are your favorite?
This post was featured in 51 Cold Summer Desserts.
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