In the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine (April 2012), there is a fantastic piece on desserts involving the two parts of an egg. One of the recipes, the Torrone Semifreddo sounded so wonderful, my friend Suzette called me and said let’s get together and make this. We made it last week and it turned out delicious, light, with a mousse like texture and overall vanilla flavor.
With Passover coming up soon, I was inspired to change the recipe a bit and create a dairy-free, kosher for Passover, fruity flavored version of a semifreddo. Semifreddo is an Italian dessert concept usually involving some frozen cream, ice cream and or cake. I have to say thank you to Martha Stewart for the idea!
Serves 16 to 18
I filled two loaf pans, one large (10 x 5 x 3 inches) and one small (8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ¾ inches) or you could use two medium size pans. Line the loaf pans with plastic wrap going both directions and overhanging the pan by about 5 inches on each side. The overhang will be used to wrap the semifreddo and when you unwrap the overhang it makes it easy to pull the semifreddo out of the pan to slice and serve.
This needs to frozen for 8 hours or overnight before serving. Served with slice strawberries, whole raspberries or diced mango.
1 1/ 2 cups whole pecan halves
3/ 4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/ 4 cup sugar
1/ 4 cup water
6 extra large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 3/ 4 cup dairy-free, kosher for Passover whip (if not worried about dairy-free use whipping cream if you prefer)
1/ 4 cup sugar
2 cups fresh mango puree
1 1/ 4 cup small size bittersweet chocolate chips (dairy-free and kosher for Passover)
1 1/ 2 cups whole frozen raspberries
This recipe requires several parts be prepared and created before the whole thing can be assembled.
For pecan brittle, heat oven to 350° F. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes. Pecans burn very fast, so don’t walk away. Remove pecans from oven and make sugar syrup. Place sugar and water in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Place pan on medium-high heat and watch as sugar melts and turns to a golden amber color. You may swirl pan but do not stir. The moment the right color is achieved, stir in toasted pecans. Stir pecans and caramelized sugar to coat all and pour brittle out onto a silpat lined baking sheet. Spread it out fast, since it sets up very quickly. Set aside to cool. When it is completely cool, chop brittle into coarse chunks.
For meringue, set egg whites and salt in bowl of a stand mixer with a balloon whisk ready to whip. For syrup, place 1 and 1/ 4 cups sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with water. Melt sugar and water then, bring sugar to a boil, without stirring. Cook until temperature reaches 238° F on a candy thermometer. The sugar will not turn color this time. When sugar begins to melt, begin whipping egg whites until soft peaks form. Sugar syrup reaches 238° very rapidly. As soon as the sugar comes to the right temperature remove saucepan from heat and pour in a slow steady stream into beating egg whites. Continue to beat egg whites on high until they cool off or about 5 more minutes.
Next, whip non-dairy topping until stiff. Add in sugar and beat for a second more.
Place meringue in a large bowl; fold in 1 cup of whipped topping to loosen. Add pecan brittle, chocolate chips, mango puree and the rest of the whipped topping. Fold together using a large spatula, gently reaching all the way under and giving a turn. Try to minimize deflating the meringue. Lastly, add frozen raspberries and gently spoon semifreddo mix into prepared loaf pans. Bring up sides of plastic wrap to seal. Place loaf pans in freezer until ready to serve. Remove semifreddo from loaf pan, unwrap, and slice into thick individual servings.