Wednesday, June 22, 2011
A Striped Delight: Pistachio, Strawberry and Vanilla Semifreddo
My sister Lynn, a wonderful cook, the best in the family, hands down, hosted a little dinner for her four siblings and spouses. The semifreddo was the piece de resistance that capped a wonderful array of light and fresh dishes that included an endamame and arugula pesto appetizer and spicy sweet pork tenderloin served over greens with citrus and avocado. (Don’t worry; you’ll hear about those soon.)
This semifreddo is featured on the cover of June’s Bon Appetit and its pastel prettiness captured Lynn’s fancy on sight. I’m happy for the rest of us that the recipe’s detail did not scare her off. Actually, it’s not that hard, really, just time consuming and one of those recipes that requires you dirty half your bowls and utensils.I loved the fact that the recipe uses the real vanilla bean. And ground pistachios and fresh strawberries.
But combine pistachios and vanilla and strawberries, with cream and eggs and sugar, I’m one easy mark for near gluttony. Although I really don’t have a great sweet tooth, I’m a sucker for any kind of ice cream. But my all-time favorite is pistachio. As a child, our family traveled three hours each way once a month to Grandma’s and a pit stop at a Howard Johnson’s on the way meant coffee for the driver and ice cream for the kids. And pistachio was my perennial request.
So if you ever want to spend a day in a cool house, make this. Trust me; you’ll be rewarded with kudos like you would not believe.
Pistachio, Strawberry and Vanilla Semifreddo
Bon Appetit June 2011
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
4 T sugar, divided, plus ½ cup
1 c whole milk, divided
¼ t almond extract
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 C fresh strawberries (about 4 oz.), hulled, halved
1 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ t kosher salt
1 1/3 C chilled whipping cream
Line a metal loaf pan (approximately 9x5x3”) with two layers of plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang on all sides.
Grind pistachios and 2 T sugar in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer pistachio mixture to a small saucepan. Add ½ C milk; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 20 minutes. Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl; strain, discarding solids. Stir in almond extract; set pistachio mixture aside.
Place remaining ½ cup milk in a separate small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over another small bowl; strain, discarding solids, and chill vanilla mixture.
Puree strawberries and 2 T sugar in food processor until smooth. Set a fine mesh strainer over another medium bowl; strain, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Stir in vanilla extract and set strawberry mixture aside
Whisk eggs, salt and remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Beat egg mixture at high speed until it triples in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170 degrees Fahrenheit, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and continue beating until thick and cool, about 3 minutes. Add one-third egg mixture to each of the pistachio, strawberry and vanilla mixtures; fold each just to blend.
Beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add one third of cream to each of the pistachio, strawberry and vanilla mixtures; fold each just to blend. Cover vanilla and strawberry mixtures separately; chill.
Pour pistachio mixture into pan; smooth top. Cover; freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Gently pour strawberry mixture over pistachio layer; smooth top. Cover; freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Gently fold vanilla mixture to blend and pour over and smooth top. Freeze until firm about 4 hours.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Fold plastic wrap over. Seal tightly and keep frozen.
When ready to serve, uncover semifreddo and using plastic wrap as an aid invert onto a chilled platter. Peel off plastic. Slice cross wise. You can freeze any leftovers, but I doubt there would be any.
Bon Appetit also suggests that if you want to bypass the layered look, you can choose just one of the flavors and just triple the measurements.