This semifreddo mixture is pure Italian. Its base is zabaglione, a rich, billowy custard made from beating together egg yolks, sugar and wine over barely bubbling water. Although Marsala traditionally is used to make zabaglione, author Domenica Marchetti likes to use vin santo, a sweet dessert wine from Tuscany.
The crushed amaretti cookies provide a satisfying crunch and a sweet almond flavor that complements the flavor of the wine.
The individual semifreddi can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept frozen until just before serving.
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vin santo (may substitute Marsala)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup crushed amaretti cookies (about 5 ounces), preferably Lazzaroni brand, plus more whole cookies for garnish (optional)
Fill a large saucepan with about 2 inches of water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain gentle bubbles at the edges.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of hot water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Use a hand-held electric mixer or a whisk to beat the mixture vigorously for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then drizzle in the vin santo as you continue to beat. After the vin santo has been incorporated, beat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in volume and transformed into a dense, foamy cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the zabaglione has cooled slightly.
Place the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on high until firm peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled zabaglione.
Lightly grease six 8-ounce ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking oil spray. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of crushed amaretti into the bottom of each portion. Divide the mixture among the ramekins or cups, then sprinkle each one with additional amaretti crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours, until completely solid.
To serve, remove from the freezer and let stand for 5 minutes or so, until slightly defrosted. Unmold the semifreddi onto individual plates. If any amaretti crumbs remain in the cups, scrape them out with a spatula and sprinkle them on top of the dessert. Alternatively, you can serve the individual semifreddi in the ramekins or custard cups rather than unmold them. If the crushed cookies are on the bottom, garnish the top of each portion with a few whole cookies, if desired.
From Alexandria cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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