Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coconut Lime Semifreddo

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For those of us sharing a tiny apartment space but who simultaneously would happily give up an arm and probably a leg for a heaping serving of just about any frozen dessert but still don't have, or have space for, an ice cream maker, it's time to celebrate! (And everybody else can, too, because you're still gonna love this.) Hooray for semifreddo! Not really sure how to pronounce that word still, but I sure know how to make it and I'm even better at eating it!

I must warn you, though, before you dive into a perfectly creamy, flavor-packed vat of this stuff, semifreddo is an Italian ice cream (and no, it's not the same as gelato). It's custard-based, which means it's heavenly and creamy but it won't feel quite as chilly on your tongue as what we're used to here in the good old USA.

So instead of using an ice cream freezer, you pour the custard mixture in a loaf pan and then pop the whole thing in the freezer for several hours. If you want traditional, be sure to line your pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap before pouring in the custard so you can remove it from the pan once frozen and make beautiful slices. Or you can just scoop it out with a spoon. Either way is equally effective and delicious.

But oh, my goodness. This stuff is addictive! It's the kind of thing I have to make when I have someplace to take it so I don't sit on my kitchen counter with my head stuck in the freezer for "just a little taste" until suddenly the whole batch has disappeared. I mean, really, who does that?

Oh! And thanks again to that little sister of mine for taking these awesome pics for me!

Coconut Lime Semifreddo [click to print]
Makes one loaf

For the custard
  • 8 egg yolks, large
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (OR seeds 1/2 vanilla bean OR extract)
  • 1/2 c. lime curd
For the cream
  • 1-1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut, sweetened
Line loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper and set aside.

For the cream mixture, stir together cream and coconut in small saucepan. Cook over medium high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and cover; allow to steep for 1 hour. Strain cream mixture through a mesh sieve, returning about 1/4 c. coconut to mixture and discarding the rest. Allow to chill in refrigerator until cold while you prepare the custard. 

You're gonna need a double boiler, or makeshift version (my fave), to make the custard. Add an inch or so of water to a medium-size pot and bring to a simmer. In a medium heat-proof bowl (i.e. glass) or double boiler, whisk together yolks and sugar; place bowl over simmering water, making sure that the water level doesn't touch the bottom of your bowl. If it does, you will likely have nasty bits of cooked egg in your custard and that's gross, so just pour a little water out of the pot and continue.

Whisk the yolk mixture continuously until it thickens and the sugar has dissolved completely. If you dip a spoon in the mixture, it should coat the back with a nice, thick layer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and lime curd. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the custard and chill. 

Remove cream from fridge and whisk (by hand or by mixer) until soft peaks form. When the custard is cold, gently fold in the cream, about 1 c. at a time, until well incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared pan, pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, and freeze until firm, about 5-6 hours. 

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