Essentially a frozen apricot mousse, this semifreddo is light and airy thanks to the careful incorporation of whipped cream. When sliced, it is beautifully flecked with golden bits of apricot. It has just the right amount of tartness.
It requires 2 separate chilling times: The apricot custard base needs several hours in the refrigerator, and then in the freezer when the semifreddo is complete.
The semifreddo can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept frozen until just before serving.
- 1 cup dried unsulphured unsweetened apricots, preferably California
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 pint fresh raspberries, for garnish
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Combine the apricots and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the fruit has softened. Remove from the heat and let stand until cool.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Set aside.
Combine the half-and-half and vanilla extract in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Let the mixture bubble but not boil; adjust the heat as needed.
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are light and thick. Add a little of the hot half-and-half mixture to the yolk-sugar mixture, whisking rapidly to prevent the yolks from cooking. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until a custard forms that is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and add the apricot puree; mix well. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Press the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until the apricot custard base is thoroughly chilled.
Combine the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on high until firm peaks form. Gently fold in the chilled apricot custard.
Line an 8 1/2-inch-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of wrap on both sides and at each end of the pan (and/or spray the pan with nonstick cooking oil spray). Pour the apricot mixture into the pan; use a spatula to smooth the top. Cover the top of the semifreddo with the excess plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 6 hours, until the semifreddo is completely solid.
To serve, remove the semifreddo from the freezer and unmold it onto a platter or cutting board. Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften slightly. Cut the semifreddo into 3/4-inch-thick slices and set the slices on individual plates. Scatter a few of the raspberries over each slice and garnish each with a mint leaf or two.
From Alexandria cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.
Tested by Geneva Collins.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.