Berries are available everywhere locally where we live: blueberries, strawberries and raspberries - but for this semifreddo recipe frozen berries are best. You could use fresh berries, but because this is a frozen dessert the icy berries aid the freezing process. Semifreddo is sometimes called a French parfait.
Most recipes say to use a powered hand beater to mix the eggs and sugar over a bowl of simmering water, but I just whisked by hand and it worked perfectly well. I always worry about melting the power cord. You could substitute many fruits: peach, apricot, apple, pomegranate etc.
Berry Semifreddo serves about 6
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks extra
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups single or pouring cream
- 500g frozen berries
Prepare a tin by lining it with clingwrap and put it in the freezer so that as soon as the semifreddo is poured in it starts to freeze. I used a 20cm square cake tin.
To start the semifreddo you whisk the eggs and extra yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl over water simmering in a saucepan. It is best to use a glass heat-proof bowl that will sit nicely on top of your saucepan and the water shouldn't touch the bottom of the bowl at all.
I usually put a few centimetres of water in the pan and bring it to the simmer then put the bowl on top and turn the heat right down. It should keep simmering for at least the five minutes you need.
Using a hand whisk, or your hand-held electric beater, whisk the egg and sugar mixture for about 5 minutes. It should increase in volume and become pale, thicker and creamy.
While it is beating, crush the frozen berries, I like to have some smashed up and some almost whole to give a variety of texture in the dessert. Mix them through the cooled egg and sugar and set aside for a few minutes.
Beat the cream till soft peaks form. Soft peaks are when you lift the beaters out and the cream makes a peak, and then flops over. I think mine was a bit further than that, but it won't really matter that much. Fold the berry mixture gently into the cream, one third at a time until it is all well combined.
Remove the lined tin from the freezer and spoon the semifreddo in and spread it out evenly. Cover with the clingwrap and place back in the freezer to set. It should be ready to eat after 4 hours if you are in a hurry, or overnight. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. It doesn't tend to set rock hard and it was easy to scoop out after 8 hours.