Summer officially started, and that deserves celebration, with raspberries, ice-cream, and cakes. Semifreddo is a lovely semi-frozen dessert, but the main ingredients in a traditional semifreddo are usually eggs, sugar and cream, so it has the texture of frozen mousse. As I cannot have eggs, I’ve opted for a Mascarpone semifreddo.
Since it has to be frozen in order to serve it, use full fat Mascarpone and heavy cream, as well as gelatine. The gelatine helps prevent the cake crystalizing in the freezer, so do not omit it from the recipe. Make sure you remove it from the freezer for at least 10-15 minutes before serving, because it needs to thaw just a bit, because after all, it is a semifreddo, and it should be served as such.
600 grams raspberries, divided
200 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
200 grams Mascarpone, softened
250 ml heavy whipping cream
3 teaspoons unflavoured gelatine (140 bloom)
10 savoiardi biscuits
50 ml Chambord liqueur
Take a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium-high heat, then add in 500 grams of raspberries and the sugar, and cook, while stirring often, until the mixture. You want the raspberries to release as much juice and pulp as possible, so keep breaking them down with a wooden spoon as you cook. When it is ready and cooked down to almost half of the original volume, remove it from the head, add the vanilla, and let it cool down to at least room temperature. At this point you can strain the cooked raspberries to remove the pips, but you do not have to.
Once it has cooled down enough, it should almost resemble a raspberry jam. Place the gelatine in a small bowl and add 50 ml of cold water, then mix it well, and let the gelatine bloom. Add the softened Mascarpone to the raspberries, and gently fold it through. Melt the gelatine over low heat, stirring until melted, but be careful not to let it come to a boil. Take a bit of the raspberry mixture, and mix it in the gelatine, then pour everything back into the raspberries, and whisk everything through.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then gently fold the cream through the raspberries. Finally, add in the reserved 100 grams of raspberries, and fold them through. Set the mixture aside for a moment. Mix the Chambord with 50 ml of cold water in a shallow bowl, then dunk in each piece of savoiardi, so they aren’t dry, and arrange them on a serving platter; and then place and close a small cake ring around them (15 cm).
Place a tall strip of acetate on the inside of the cake ring. Carefully spoon the raspberry mix over the savoiardi, then gently shake the platter, and tap it on the table so it settles without bubbles. Place the platter into the freezer for 4 hours, then you can take the semifreddo out and decorate it with some additional fresh raspberries, freshly whipped cream, raspberry buttons, etc. Serve the semifreddo after at least 8 hours of freezing. Yields 8 large servings.
Author’s note: To slice the semifreddo, pour hot water into a tall jug, place in a thin blade knife, dry if off, and carefully slide it through.
By Tina Vesić