7.08.2010

Almond Praline Semifreddo with Roasted Apricots


Have you ever made a semifreddo? This was my first. Why, I can't imagine since I like ice cream so much. The name is Italian for "half cold" and refers to any of various chilled or partially frozen desserts. While this may be considered a frozen dessert, because of the egg whites or whipped cream folded into a semifreddo, it doesn't freeze as hard as ice cream. And I bet you'll be pleased to read you don't need an ice cream maker either. When you take a spoonful, you'll find the semifreddo melts quickly in your mouth and has an airy, mousse-like texture. Really lovely.


Just because I'm crazy for almond anything, I made an almond praline semifreddo. We loved it, but there simply wasn't anywhere near enough praline :D, so next time I'm going to double the praline part of the recipe. Not only would I have loved more in the semifreddo itself, but I ran out while sprinkling it on top as a garnish.

There are lots of different ways a semifreddo can be plated: you can freeze the entire batch in a large container and scoop it out to serve just like ice cream or freeze it in individual paper cupcake liners. Just peel them away to serve.  I really prefer the presentation of a slice of semifreddo, so I made mine in a loaf pan. Apricots are wonderful right now so I roasted some lovely fresh ones. Of course, you can use any fruit you like. There is a wonderful recipe at Pastry Studio (one of my favorite blogs), using cherries with an almond semifreddo. I included her recipe after the at the end because cherries are lovely right now too! But if you want to make a really simple topping for your semifreddo, just mash your favorite fresh berries and add some sugar to taste.

Almond Praline Semifreddo

Gourmet, July, 1990


Ingredients:

(
Please note that I have doubled the praline part of this recipe)

2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup sliced almonds with skin (1 ounce), toasted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

Method:
Line a lightly oiled 8 1/2-by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

Cook 2/3 cup sugar in a dry small heavy skillet over medium heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until a deep golden caramel. Stir in almonds to coat and scrape onto baking sheet. Cool, then break into pieces. Pulse in a food processor until praline is finely ground (do not grind to a paste).

Beat eggs and remaining 1/4 cup sugar with a pinch of salt in a 2-quart metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water using a handheld electric mixer at high speed until tripled in volume and very thick, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until mixture is cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Stir in extract.

With cleaned beaters, beat cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold about one third of whipped cream into egg mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining cream and about 3/4 of the praline gently but thoroughly (reserve remaining praline for garnish). Spoon into loaf pan and freeze, covered, until firm, at least 6 hours.

Uncover semifreddo and invert onto a chilled platter, using plastic wrap to help pull it from mold. Sprinkle reserved praline on top. Slice semifreddo crosswise and serve with the apricots.



Honey-cardamom Roasted Apricots
From Bon Appetit Test Kitchen, June 2010.

Ingredients:

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 large or 12 small apricots (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved, pitted
3 1/2 tablespoons honey, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix brown sugar and cardamom in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Add apricots. Pour 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons honey over fruit; dot with butter. Roast until apricots are tender, occasionally basting with syrup in dish, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.


Balsamic Cherries

From Pastry Studio

Ingredients:

3 cups (about 1 lb, 2 oz) fresh cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar, to taste
pinch salt
zest of half of a large orange
1 -2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste

Method:

To make the cherry compote, place the pitted cherries with the water and sugar in a saucepan. Add the orange zest and simmer until the juices are rendered and the cherries are fairly tender, tasting for the right amount of sugar. Remove from heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Cool completely.


Notes: Semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead and kept frozen, well wrapped.
            
Apricots with syrup can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.

66 comments:

  1. Is there really ever such a thing as ENOUGH praline? I think not.

    The semifreddo looks delicious. I've never had one before but now i really have to!

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  2. Beautiful dessert! I've never made a semifreddo before. I will be bookmarking this recipe.

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  3. I haven't made semifreddo yet. This looks mighty fine. Ooohhh, I love almond praline! Pretty plate.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. I have never made semifreddo. Yours looks divine. So many different flavors.

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  5. I can't believe I've never made one before either - I'm drooling over the combination of apricots and creamy semifreddo

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  6. This is certainly the weather for frozen desserts. We are looking at a record setting 98 degrees today. What a lovely presentation, Barbara. I would like lots of the praline too. I have apricots on my market shopping list this week.

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  7. This is new to me, but it look delicious!

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  8. Oh dear- I have to make this! I've also been meaning to make Nigella Lawson's Honey Semifreddo, and should do both before the summer's actually over. I have printed this recipe off- thankyou!

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  9. You may have saved my marriage. No, it isn't THAT serious, but I am ticked that the Knight can't find EITHER of our ice cream makers. (No, I don't really miss the hand-cranked model, but HE could crank...) We both love pralines, so this will be a lovely peace offering, with your double recipe doubled again, perhaps?

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  10. What a delightful summer treat to impress your guests. I too love anything with almond, so I know this would be a favorite. I look forward to trying the cherries as well Barbara. Thanks as always and hoping all is good in lovely Boca Raton?

    x Deb

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  11. That looks delicious!Perfect summer dessert!

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  12. Barbara...I too am nuts for almonds...dido on doubling up!

    I always loved the refreshing delectable texture of a semi-freddo and do prefer having it served in slices ;o)

    This recipe is slightly different than mine...which is great so that I can experience it new again!

    Have a great day and flavourful wishes, Claudia

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  13. Oh my, this is so tempting! Freddo is something new to me but I bet it tastes fabulous. I love it chilled too and those candied fruits sounds fantastic as well! Yummm.... Hope you're having a great day.
    Cheers, Kristy

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  14. I'm on an ice cream making cook and think I need to make some semifreddo now!! Not to mention, pralines sounds absolutely amazing right about now :)

    Sues

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  15. I LOVE pralines! I must try this!

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  16. "I have doubled the praline part of this recipe" - you're a girl after my own heart! I adore semifreddo, and your version is raises the level of sophistication with the honey cardamon apricots and balsamic cherries, both of which I love!

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  17. oh how cool looks yummy always learn something from you

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  18. Thank you so much for this recipe, Barbara! I was just thinking about how I wanted to make semifreddo when I was at work today--can't wait to try this!

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  19. Barbara this looks so delicious...mmmmmm

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  20. So Barbara, if I were to come to dinner, would you make this for me? It sounds like something I could never attempt, but would just love to eat. Oh, I think anything you make...I would love to eat. How about next Saturday?lol
    hugs
    Thank you for stopping by and spending time in the garden with me.

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  21. Hey Barbara, this does sound like one of those things that people should make more for both taste and ease reasons! I might try it. I'm going to show it to Cauldron Boy and see what he thinks...
    p.s. I never knew what semifreddo was before this! The word is familiar but never would have been able to define it, so thanks!

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  22. The almond praline alone sounds wonderful! I've never made a semifreddo but your description of it sounds delightful.

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  23. Have to admit - this is the first time I have heard of a semifreddo! Sounds and looks wonderful..the recipe looks simple enough even for me!
    I'm in agreement - never enough praline...

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  24. I have never tasted semifreddo. It sounds wonderful, especially with those delicious fruits!

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  25. Oh my, this looks delicious, especially with the apricots. I have not eaten semifreddo before, but I want to now!

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  26. You are so clever to double the praline Barbara! ;) and I remember making semifreddo for the first time because as you said, you don't need an ice cream maker. It seemed like the perfect solution!

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  27. can one ever have enough praline? i submit that she cannot. :)
    this is such a classy dessert. really lovely work, barbara--your semifreddo debut is impressive.

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  28. Hi Barbara
    I have never made a semi fredo, and i don't know why....I like your presentation using a loaf pan to mold it. It looks so good with those roasted apricots, a perfect compliment!
    all the best
    Dennis

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  29. Every time someone makes a semifreddo on Top Chef, the get kicked off. Looks like they need a lesson from you.

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  30. YUM! I made my first semifreddo last year, and I was astonished at how easy/tasty it was.

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  31. Sounds wonderful! The Balsamic Cherry recipe is interesting could they also be used in a salad with a warm melted cheese over a bed of lettuce. I have a recipe where the cherries are roasted but I would like to try this recipe. I also love Praline, yummy!!
    xoxo
    Bunny
    PS, I noticed your comment over on HH's blog, I just did Keratin for the first time in late May, it is wonderful, I don't even need to use leave in products anymore, it is amazing!

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  32. Looks wonderful I am going to try this. Semifreddo sounds so good I love the addition of praline

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  33. Wonderful job with the semifreddo, especially on a first try. The roasted apricots look fantastic.

    Cheers!

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  34. This looks simply gorgeous. I've had semifreddos before but never made one. You've inspired me!

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  35. Barbara look really georgeous, I made 1 or two times, not more but is a really delicious dessert. Love yours! huggs gloria

    PD: LOve your plate is geprgepus!

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  36. My mouth was watering as I read through the elements of your recipe. This sounds delicious and perfect for a hot summer night. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  37. Mmmm...praline :) I like semifreddos because I don't have an ice-cream maker and this is so easy to do. And like you, I like to do the loaf pan version as well.

    Roasted apricots sound delightful!

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  38. Ooooh, this sounds divine, Barbara! I've never made or eaten semi-freddo, but I love almond too. :-) I never even thought of roasting my beautiful apricots, but I bet that would be delicious!! You've inspired me today. :-)

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  39. I can almost taste this just by looking at it. Apricots, honey and cardamom? They are the perfect trifecta of flavors. Delicious!

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  40. This is positively decadant!! It's beautiful and I so want some. I've never done anything like this before, I'm bookmarking it so I can take a look again down the road and see if I can't do it for a special occasion. Thanks!

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  41. Hi Barbara,

    What a wonderful dessert you have shared with us today ~ thank you.
    So good that you do not need an icecream maker.
    I look forward to trying this, when apricots and cherries are back in season.

    Have a wonderful weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

    ps. Many thanks for the very kind words you left for Victoria, she said thank you.

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  42. I haven't made a semifreddo in years. This sounds delicious. I think I will be doing something like this soon.

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  43. impressive! this looks great!

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  44. This is great Barbara !!!! I used to have a friend in Milan, and when I went to visit her, he would buy a semifreddo from the best "pasticcheria"...Oh là là
    This type of flavor is very dear to us Argentinians, due to the great influence of Italian cooking in our daily lives....
    Thanks, my mouth waters !!!

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  45. This is simply a stunning photo that tells the story as to why everyone should try semifreddo. I have never had the opportunity to enjoy this semi-ice cream dish but, I would never pass up a chance. Love it!

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  46. What a beautiful recipe. I have had a semifreddo, but never tried it at home, though I should because I love almond. Cardamom apricots and/or balsamic cherries sound like they would make this so unique and complex.

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  47. I'm so glad you enjoyed semifreddo. It really is a great riff on ice cream. Yours looks really delicious with those apricots!

    Thanks so much for your generous support of my blog.

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  48. I have never made semifreddo but I love it! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  49. irresistible! definitely scrumptious :)

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  50. love it,
    always enjoy fresh food.

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  51. Gorgeous dessert! It looks absolutely delicious! Love the combo of flavors!

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  52. My goodness! I'm going off the diet for this one! :)

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  53. I have never made semifreddo either, and this looks wonderful. I'll hav eto give it a shot myself!

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  54. I have never made semifreddo before Barbara! But I can tell you after seeing this I am inspired. It looks positively delicious! And I love that it doesn't require an ice cream maker.

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  55. Hey,
    Your semifreddo looks so delicious. And I love almond praline !
    Thanks for this beautiful recipe.
    Chrys (FRANCE)

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  56. Oh I do like this Barbara. I haven't tried semifreddo before, but I am very willing to try, especially after seeing this one.

    ps I have a cake stand just like your plate

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  57. This looks delicious and perfect for this weather.

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  58. Honey. Cardamom. Apricots. Roasted = Heaven on a summer plate.

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  59. I've never made semifreddo either but I recently saw a recipe that I wanted to make out of a cookbook. Yours sounds even better though, so I know which one I'll be trying first!

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  60. I want to make this! I am memorizing the recipe as we speak; great because we don't have an ice-cream maker up here.

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  61. Yes yes! I too LOVE ice cream. Can't get enough of it. I have heard of semifreddo but I actually never knew what it was. This looks so decadent and delicious.

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  62. I can't say I've ever made Semifreddo nor would I think to ever whip it up. However, I am totally mesmerized by the thought of those apricots!!! Oh goodness!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Barbara...

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  63. I'm all for anything with apricots, the fact that it has praline and is cold only enhances it's appeal.
    Mimi

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  64. Your almond praliné semi-freddo is certainly very apart & so special too!!

    The added honey cardamom grilled apricots is a bonus!

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  65. I must try this! It looks absolutely fantastic.

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