Raspberry & Lemon Semifreddo – Woolworths and MasterChef SA Week 8
This post forms part of the series of recipes I am preparing for Woolworths, the food sponsor for MasterChef SA. It is a Food and the Fabulous Endorsed project and I will be remunerated for it
Desserts are more than something to look forward at the the end of the meal. They are, in my opinion, a great part of the meal and in many cases make it. Perhaps that is my sweet-tooth talking, but if you apply moderation and sensibility there is no reason why desserts (or any food group, except those on red lists) should be banned.
I won’t eat rich chocolate pudding with each meal every night of the week, as tempting as that may be, but when I do, I enjoy it. I am happy to split a dessert at a restaurant and share the deliciousness (and the calories). I do think children’s diets should be monitored and fruit and healthy snacks encouraged, so that that they can grow up to be informed adults with balanced eating behaviours. The old saying of “don’t trust a thin chef” just simply isn’t true and, as with all things, moderation and healthful habits must come first. You want to be enjoying those sweet goodies for a very long time, right?
But, I detract from the important subject of desserts. I love spending time in the kitchen and when I throw dinner parties, or even have a few friends pop by informally, I like to serve a few savoury courses or share several tapas style plates. This means I’m sometimes scrambling around by the time I need to make dessert. My go-to options (as vanilla as they may be) are a panna cotta, chocolate fondants or this semifreddo. I change the ingredients according to what I have at hand – berries, nougat, meringues, passion fruit, figs. I love this semifreddo because of the unexpected, refreshing scent of lemon and and the freshness of the zest. It goes surprisingly well with rasberries and is creamy and indulgent.
Also, a good dessert to enjoy before winter kicks in.
Semifreddo translates to Italian for ‘half -cold” or half-frozen and sets in hours. Your guests will still feel like you put as much effort into dessert as you did with the rest of the meal. Easy points for the cook!
3 free-range eggs, separated
1/2 t vanilla essence (not extract) – optional
3 T castor sugar
1 x tub (250 g) mascarpone cheese
1/2 t lemon extract (or 1 t essence)
250 ml fresh cream (whipping)
1 t castor sugar
250 ml raspberries – fresh or frozen, slightly thawed if frozen (or berries of your choice), sprinkled with 1 T castor sugar
1 large lemon, zested
Beat the egg yolks, vanilla essence (I don’t like the idea of raw egg, so I always add essence; extract would be over-powering in this recipe) and castor sugar till frothy.
Mix the mascarpone and lemon essence in a separate bowl till it softens. Add this to egg yolk mixture and beat well, till lumps disappear.
Whip the egg white till stiff but not dry. Gently fold into into the mascarpone/egg mixture, in two lots.
Whip the fresh cream and teaspoon of caster sugar till firm. Don’t over beat.
Fold cream gently into mascarpone mixture.
Use a fork to gently smash the macerating berries. Add berries and half the lemon zest to the mascarpone and mix gently to distribute.
Spoon into a medium-sized greased silicone mold, or individual ramekins, also greased, or oil and cover a standard baking tin with cling film and pour mixture in.
Freeze for four hours or until set.
Remove from freezer and allow to soften very slightly (use a hot tea-towel is necessary – not necessary with greased silicone molds). Serve either in the ramekins or un-mold.
Serve with remaining lemon zest for a lovely, aromatic and unexpected twist.
- You can successfully omit the use of eggs, by using 250 ml mascarpone mixed with 175 ml condensed milk and 250 ml fresh cream folded in. Use berries, nuts and nougat of your choice as flavourings. This recipe melts faster that the others, I find.
- A traditional semifreddo recipe uses mascarpone or fresh cream and several eggs.
- Use figs (in season!) and saffron, with a splash of orange blossom water for an Middle Eastern flavour
- Meringues that are slightly crushed and not perfect to serve as is, work well when added to a semifreddo with berries or nougat.
- Passionfruit is also a good partner in frozen desserts like this one.
- Adjust the sugar to your liking.
Other SemiFreddo Recipes, I’ve enjoyed making:
Strawberry and Hazelnut Meringue
Passionfruit & Dried Fig Semifreddo with Saffron
Berry & Nougat Semifreddo
Layered Semifreddo Christmas Cake with Berries & Nuts