Thursday, 26 April 2012
Another instalment as part of my Cookbook of the Month feature! This time it's a semi-freddo recipe by Kate Bracks. Semi-freddo is Italian for 'half cold' and is a great alternative to ice cream if you don't own an ice cream machine or, if you're like me and you do own one, but you simply have no room in your freezer to pre-freeze the bowl! It has a lovely texture, much like a frozen mousse I'd say.The other good thing about this recipe, quite obviously, is that rhubarb is the star ingredient! I am so happy to see rhubarb available once again! Rhubarb haters and nay-sayers like Mr Ladybird won't getting very excited about a dish like this, but then again, more for the rest of us! This keeps in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Although you don't need an ice cream machine for this, I would recommend use of electric hand beaters as per Kate's recipe. I don't own electric hand beaters so used a whisk, and I just about whisked my arm off in the process!
Rhubarb, Vanilla and Almond Semi-Freddo
Recipe from 'The Sweet Life' by Kate Bracks (with some notes from me in italics).
300g rhubarb, washed
100ml orange juice
1 tbsp caster sugar
4 egg yolks
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped*
300ml pouring cream
70g (1/2 cup) silvered almonds, lightly toasted
* I replaced with with half a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1. Spray a 22cm x 8cm (base measurement) loaf tin with oil spray and line with baking paper, extending over the two long sides. Place into the freezer.
2. Trim the rhubarb and chop into 2cm pieces. Combine with the orange juice and 1 tablespoon caster sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has collapsed and the liquid has become slightly syrupy. At this point I recommend tasting the rhubarb mixture. If you find it too tart add caster sugar to taste. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
3. Combine the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over a saucepan of gently simmering water (ensure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl). Use electric hand beaters to whisk until the mixture is thick and pale, and has reached about 85 degrees celcius on a sugar thermometer (if you don't have a sugar thermometer, it should be too hot to leave your finger in there!).
4. Tip the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on slow speed until it has returned to room temperature.
5. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks.
6. Fold together the cooled egg mixture and cream until combined thoroughly. Stir in the cooled rhubarb and toasted almonds.
7. Tip the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for a minimum of 5 hours, but preferably overnight, until firm.
8. Allow the semi-freddo to soften slightly before scooping into serving bowls (I simply sliced mine like a terrine instead).