July is normally the driest month in Los Angeles. Last weekend was a completely different story. The storm from Mexico bought in heavy rain, lightning and thunder. It felt like it rained more over the weekend than many days during the past rainy season. The rain wasn’t too much of a problem. It was the humidity. Oh my, it felt like Hong Kong. That hot and humid weather that makes everything sticky. Yuck… The good news was that our new home has air conditioning, so we were able to sit in the dry and cool house for a few hours.
There was one interesting incident happened during the storm. I woke up early Saturday morning. With the rainy clouds, the sun didn’t shine through. The sky was very dark. I didn’t turn on the lights and sat down in the dark living room. All I cared about was my emails and instagram pictures. All of the sudden, the desk light turned on! I was sitting far away from it. No way it could be me who did that. The internet modem restarted out of nowhere as well. Right when I was trying to understand what was going on, I heard a loud thunder. For sure, it was the lightning or the static in the air. Whew… It did scared me for a bit. If it really was a ghost, it has to be our old guinea pig Tuna. 🙂
Cold treat is the only thing that would make hot weather better! This strawberry semifreddo will do it. What is a semifreddo? It is an Italian dessert that means half-cold. It is kind of in between ice cream, creamy popsicle and mousse. It is a combination of custard, meringue, and whipped cream. Freeze it and cut to serve. It sounds complicated, but it is a lot easier once you are working on it. It tasted so light, creamy and fresh. They are gorgeous looking which make the perfect dessert to serve for a summer dinner party! Your guests will thank you!
– 6 cups strawberries (about 2¼ pounds) (½ cut into slices and ½ cup into halves)
– ¾ cup sugar (divided)
– 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
– 5 large egg yolks
– 4 large egg whites
– 2 teaspoons orange zest
– pinch of salt
- Line an 8-inch square metal pan with plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the 2 sides. Keep in the freezer until ready to use.
- In a medium saucepan, add the sliced strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mash coarsely with a potato masher or fork. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat until slightly thicken and almost like jam, stirring occasionally, about 6 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool over a big bowl of ice water. Once it is cooled, keep in the fridge.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.
- In a large pot filled with 1-inch water, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
- In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons orange zest. Place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk until the mixture is almost double in volume and thick and creamy, about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitter with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg white and pinch of salt until foamy with tiny bubbles. Slowly add 7 tablespoons sugar. Beat over medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Stir half of the strawberry mixture into the yolk mixture. Mix well. Fold this mixture into the egg white until just blended. Then add the whipped cream and fold until mixed. Add the rest of the strawberry mixture and gently fold in by leaving some streaks. Pour everything into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Transfer to freezer and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
- 1 hour before serving, cut the rest of the strawberries in half. Toss with 2 tablespoons sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- When ready to serve, unwrap the semifreddo and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 rectangles. Transfer to serving plates. Top with the strawberries. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
- The semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead.
- Feel free to use any container you want, even many small individual containers. My 8-inch square pan is not a standard size, so I have leftover. I put the rest in a silicone pyramid baking mold.
- If using silicone mold, there is no need to line with plastic wrap.
(Adapted from Sunset Magazine April 2015)
Yikes, good thing there was a logical explanation for that power surge there! I have a friend who just moved to LA…she’s adjusting to the new lifestyle, that’s for sure! And I always think of Nigella Lawson when I see semifreddo…that’s a good thing to me. Needless to say, yours is so pretty. Love how molds you made them in and the individual serving like that. I don’t think I’ve ever had semifreddo…need to try!
Haha yea, no ghost. 🙂 I am sure your friend will love LA. Nice weather (most of the time) and beautiful beaches! People are laid back and relax.
I have not seen Nigella’s semifreddo before! Need to check it out. I love individual servings, but 1 piece was not enough. Bryan and I both had 2! I actually also made some with an 8-inch square pan too. It was very easy to cut into individual portion. If I am making this for a party, it is easier to just to a big pan and cut.
Sharon @ Savormania says
We’re currently experiencing a heatwave here in Switzerland and this strawberry semifreddo sounds PERFECT to beat the heat!
I heard about the heat wave in Europe. My parents just visited Switzerland, and they said it was hot! But they love it! But yea, cold treats are perfect for hot days! Hope you will like it.
This looks so good! Love the modern shape as well. Such a perfect summer party treat. x
Thanks Brandi! I love the pyramid look too! 😉 It can really be shaped into any shape. A dome would be nice looking too!
Kathleen | HapaNomNom says
We must be on the same foodie wavelength, I just made something similar 😉
I love your semifreddo, particularly the addition of orange zest – a bit of citrus is fantastic in a dessert like this! Pinning for sure!
HAHA! It must be the HOT weather! Your sour cream ice cream looks very creamy! Love the tangy flavor. 🙂
In St. Louis, we have high humidity ALL summer long. I guess that means I need semifreddo all summer long! 🙂 Your strawberry pyramids are a beautiful dessert! Combined with the orange zest, they sound really refreshing! For anyone concerned about using uncooked eggs: I use pasteurized eggs by Davidson. No salmonella worries! 🙂
Haha, yes, you do! I really don’t miss the humid weather one bit! Yes, the orange zest is very nice. I love seeing it throughout the semifreddo too. Thanks for the good pasteurized egg tips! 😉
Sadly, I’ve never had or made semifreddo. After seeing this recipe, what is wrong with me? Looks like I’m missing something delicious!! Pinning this recipe!
It is very good! Hope you will try it! Thanks for stopping by, Renee!
Erin @ Platings and Pairings says
I need to snatch up some strawberries from the farmer’s market this weekend and make this delicious semifreddo. Absolutely stunning!
Thanks girl! The strawberries at the Farmer’s market are the sweetest! Enjoy!
We are currently in Italy. Lots of good food here and that includes semifreddo. Nice job on the recipe. It looks very inviting and has persuaded me to order semifreddo this evening.
Wow! I would love to try the semifreddo in Italy. And maybe some gelato too! Have a blast in Italy! 😉
What a perfect summer dessert. I love the shape- looks awesome!
Thank you Sandhya! The cool thing about semifreddo is you can put them in any mold and make them into any shape. 😉
A nice sweet treats will be a great compensation for a stormy day! These semifreddos look so adorable! Sharing of course 🙂
A sweet dessert always helps to make a rainy day better! Hope the weather has cleared up by now. Thank you Maggie.
Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine says
I love fruity summer desserts like this! These are gorgeous– you’re right, perfect for entertaining.
It is! So pretty and tasty. Everyone will love it! Thanks, Michelle!
Marissa @ OMG FOOD says
Such pretty pictures! Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits. This looks so delicious!
Thank you! Strawberries are one of my favorites too! Very versatile, especially perfect in desserts! 🙂
Levan @ MyWifeMakes.com says
Love strawberries! And this recipe is definitely a winner 🙂
Thanks a lot, Levan! Great dessert for summer time. 🙂