By Andrew Lewis
If you are looking for a dish that will impress your guests and leave them wanting more, you will be hard pressed to find something better than a semi-frio. The semi-frio (also called a semi-cold, half-cold, semi-froid, or semi-freddo) is a gloriously indulgent chilled dessert that is served – as you have probably guessed – in a semi-frozen state.
This is a dessert that I only make for very special occasions, and I know that my friends and family enjoy every spoonful.
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4 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tbsp of honey
1 tsp of vanilla extract (You could use vanilla essence if you don’t have extract.)
1 pint of double cream
Approx. 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
Walnut pieces, berries, or fruits (for decoration)
Step 1: Whip the cream until it forms firm peaks.
Step 2: Put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla into a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler (I don’t), improvise one with a Pyrex bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water.
Step 3: Keep whisking the egg mixture in the double boiler. Don’t allow the water in the saucepan to boil, and don’t stop whisking.
Step 4: Keep stirring the mixture on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. The bowl can be removed from the heat once the custard mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Step 5: Add the honey to the custard and cool the mixture by resting the bowl in cold water while stirring.
Step 6: Line a mold with plastic wrap and sprinkle 3/4 of the chopped walnuts into the bottom. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 into the whipped cream. I use a bread pan, since it gives a nice, even shape for slicing.
Step 7: Fold the custard mixture into the whipped cream, being careful not to knock too much air out of the cream.
Step 8: Pour the mixture into the mold and place it in the freezer for at least four hours.
Step 9: Remove from the freezer and turn the semi-frio out onto a large plate. Remember to remove the plastic wrap.
Step 10: Leave the semi-frio to thaw for about half an hour before serving. Garnish by drizzling with honey, and arrange the walnut pieces as you see fit. I like to add some summer berries and fresh mint around the bottom of the dish for decoration.
About the Author:
Andrew Lewis is a journalist, a maker, victophile, and founder of the www.upcraft.it blog.