Okay, we’ve written about semifreddo in this post and this post, both really easy ways to make a homemade ice cream-like treat. So, why are we doing another post, especially since this will also be vanilla semifreddo? Well, the previous two posts used raw eggs, and we know that some people are wary about using raw eggs in their food. From what we’ve heard about industrial eggs, we really can’t blame them. So, we thought we’d show you how to make this treat, but in a way that the eggs are pasteurized. It’s more difficult than the other posts, but it uses important cooking techniques that are widely used, so let’s start scratchin’.
This is a fairly basic recipe: make whipped cream, make Swiss meringue, make zabaglione, fold everything together and freeze. Easy, right? Wait, what’s zabaglione? We’ve never made that! Ah, something new to learn. Just so you know, it’s an Italian dessert made from egg yolks and sugar; often, Masala wine is used for flavoring.
With so few ingredients, make them count. Use the best cream you can find; we prefer organic since it’s simply heavy cream — no polysorbate 80, no carrageenan, no diglycerides. Though we are cooking these eggs, we still choose to use eggs from pastured hens. The eggs just taste better. And, of course, vanilla is 100% real. Always.
Procedure in detail:
Prep pan. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with two pieces of plastic wrap, one lengthwise and one crosswise. An easy way to do this is to place the pieces of plastic wrap flat on a work surface in the shape of a large plus sign (+), then transfer to the loaf pan and press into place. Set the pan aside for now.
Whip cream. We think the secret to whipping cream is to have everything cold. Very cold. So, place the mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once chilled, pour in the whipped cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Place the bowl on the mixer and whip, increasing speed to high, until you have whipped cream, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Set up double boiler. Find a saucepan that your mixer bowl will fit into leaving several inches of space between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the pan. Place about an inch of water in the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. You don’t want the bowl to touch the simmering water, so choose your pan and amount of water carefully.
Clean bowl and attachment. While the water is coming to a simmer, thoroughly clean the bowl and whisk attachment.
Make Swiss meringue. In the clean mixer bowl, whisk together egg whites and 3 tablespoons sugar. Place over simmering water and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you use a thermometer, the mixture should be around 165°F. Transfer to the stand mixer and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla, transfer to a bowl, and place in the refrigerator until needed.
Clean bowl and attachment. Also clean the hand whisk. ‘Nuf said.
Make zabaglione. In the mixer bowl, whisk together egg yolks, remaining sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Just as with the Swiss meringue, place over the simmering water and whisk until thickened and a pale yellow. As the egg whites were, the temperature will be around 165°F. Place the bowl on a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on high until doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
Fold and fold. Fold the zabaglione into the whipped cream. They’re similar in terms of density, so you can do this in one addition, but feel free to use more. Once the zabaglione is folded in, fold in the egg white mixture. This will be much lighter, so use three additions, and fold until smooth.
Freeze. Scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, fold the excess plastic wrap up and over the semifreddo, and freeze for at least 8 hours. To serve, simply unwrap and slice.
This semifreddo tastes just the same as the vanilla semifreddo we’ve made in the past, but it does have the additional work of cooking the meringue and egg yolks. However, if you’re concerned about eating raw eggs, this is the way to make semifreddo. Even with the extra work, it’s not too bad and it goes quickly. Probably 30 minutes from ingredients to freezer, so 4 stars.