Have you always thought of Memorial Day as the first day of summer? We always have. It was also the first day we were allowed to swim in the river in front of our house. Sometimes a bit too chilly, but we all jumped in anyway, determined for summer to begin no matter what. There was always a parade in our little town, followed by a ceremony honoring the fallen in the Armed Forces. And then, of course, a picnic to end the day. Either at the local park, or on the boat, which we all preferred of course.
Because Memorial Day still means a picnic to most of us, I wanted to post an ice cream or a semifreddo recipe of some kind, a simple one that didn't take a lot of time to make. I found a lovely recipe for a Strawberry Semifreddo and thought it would appeal to everyone. It was a snap to make and really, I was all set to make it when the latest issue of Martha Stewart's Living magazine landed in my mailbox. And with it, an even more impressive semifreddo recipe, this time for a Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo. It was so darn pretty, a little more involved to make, but I thought it would make a wonderful Memorial Day post. Because I loved the idea of adding some Grand Marnier (as the first recipe did...click on the link above to see how easy that semifreddo is to make), I incorporated it into the Martha Stewart recipe. I folded about 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier into the whipped cream. Turned out very nicely as you can see, and was delicious. That pistachio cream was divine. It does take an overnight (or at least a 12 hour) freeze, but all the better when you're trying to get things done in advance.
Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, June 2013 issue
1/2 cup unsalted roasted shelled pistachios
8 ounces strawberries, hulled (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides. Pulse pistachios in a food processor until coarsely chopped. (Some will end up in crumbs, that's OK.) Transfer to a new bowl. Do not wipe processor clean. Place strawberries and 3 tablespoons sugar in processor. Purée until smooth and transfer to a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir purée, pressing on solids ton extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.
Combine egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Beat on high speed until pale yellow and tripled in volume. Transfer bowl to larger bowl of ice water. Stir until mixture is very thick and cool, about 3 minutes.
Beat together whipping cream and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into egg mixture, whisking until smooth, then fold remaining cream with a spatula just until incorporated. At this point, I divided the whipped cream in half and added the Grand Marnier to the half reserved for the strawberries because I wanted the pistachio cream to taste like pistachios, not Grand Marnier.
Pour 1/2 of cream mixture into strawberry puree. Gently fold together until incorporated, then pour into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Fold the pistachios into remaining cream mixture and pour evenly over strawberry mixture. Smooth top. Fold plastic wrap over surface and freeze at least 12 hours.
To serve, peel plastic off the top, invert pan onto dish and unmold, removing plastic, and cut crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces.