Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Plum Semifreddo

Dear lord, the heat!  After the torrential rains of late June, the sunny skies are a blessing, but how I wouldn't love to be on a lake most days right now!  A vacation to slightly cooler, Northwesternly climates is just around the bend.  So in the meantime we make due with some chilly desserts to beat the heat.  A batch of beer ice (recipe coming soon, I swear...) left me with several egg whites to use up.  And this semifreddo recipe had just happened to catch my eye a few days earlier.

I have a soft spot in my heart for plums and plum jams.  For years, Gramma made the most amazing jam out of fruit from her backyard.  The nostalgia was worth the brief time standing over that simmering fruit in a scalding hot kitchen.

Everything comes together wonderfully quick; the rest is all self control as the dessert freezes.  With its healthy dose of heavy cream and sugar, this dessert is by no means light, but the texture will deceive you.  This semifreddo is a cloud spike with ribbons of tart plum. 

adapted from bon appetit

serves 8

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds red plums, pitted and cut into chunks
1 black cardamom pod, crushed
1 cup sugar, divided
Kosher salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chilled heavy

The Process:
Mist a 9x5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with plastic wrap, leaving a generous overhang on all sides. Chill until ready to use.

Combine plums, cardamom, 1/3 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until plums release their juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until plums soften and start to fall apart, 6–8 minutes longer. Let cool slightly. 

Purée the plum mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender until very smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much pulp as possible. Chill. Set aside 1 cup purée for serving.  The rest will be folded into the semifreddo.

Whisk egg whites, a pinch of salt, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a double boiler or a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Heat, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from saucepan. Add vanilla and, using an electric mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment set on high speed, whisk until mixture is tripled in volume, glossy, and completely cool, about 10 minutes.

In  another medium bowl whip the chilled cream until soft peaks form. Fold 1/3 of whipped cream into the  egg whites mixture until just combined. Fold in remaining whipped cream until just combined. Fold in plum purée, leaving large streaks throughout mixture.  The mixture will continue to mix and marble when poured in to the loaf pan. 

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and smooth top. Fold plastic wrap overhang over top and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.

Unwrap semifreddo and using plastic overhang, gently lift from pan. Invert and slice into 1" portions.

Spoon reserved plum puree over top and serve

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