Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lemon Semifreddo with Summer Berries

Recipe from Bon Appétit June 2008 Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

I made this delicious dessert for friends who were coming for supper on a hot day. Semifreddo is a fancy word meaning “half frozen.” Besides the sweet tart taste, this is a very pretty dessert that can be made in advance, serves many people (in fact, when I prepared this dessert as written, I had plenty left over after filling the loaf pan to make a smaller dish for later) and can highlight any berry in season. Just slice the “half frozen” lemony mousse and arrange on dessert plates, then top with fresh seasonal berries. You can find whole almonds in the bulk section of Lost River Market & Deli. You can buy fresh local berries and local eggs at Lost River Market & Deli and the Orange County HomeGrown Farmers Markets.

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I chopped whole almonds and then toasted them in a skillet)
1 3/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups mixed fresh berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and quartered hulled strawberries)

Line 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang. Sprinkle almonds evenly over bottom of pan. Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream while making custard.

Whisk 1 1/4 cups sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt in large metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over large saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until yolk mixture is thick and fluffy and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°F, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from over simmering water. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until cool, thick, and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes. Fold in chilled whipped cream. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and smooth top. Tap loaf pan lightly on work surface to remove air pockets. Fold plastic wrap overhang over top to cover. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Gently mix all berries and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl.

Unfold plastic wrap from top of semifreddo and invert dessert onto platter; remove plastic wrap. Dip heavy large knife into hot water; cut semifreddo crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Transfer to plates; spoon berries alongside and serve.

DO AHEAD: Semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.

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