As beach chairs are folded up and stowed away, unevenly tanned bodies become more generously clothed, and sweet aromas of neighborhood barbecues begin to disappear, Long Islanders are faced with an inevitable truth. Summer is drawing to a close.
But before sending the kids back to school or breaking out the all-too familiar winter jacket, it seems fitting to have one last celebration of summer.
This dessert – a vanilla bean semifreddo with raspberry sauce, embodies everything wonderful and delicious about summer. Fresh ingredients and a cool temperature keep this dish light while still satisfying. The best part? There's no need to turn on the oven.
In Italian, semifreddo literally means "half cold." This denotes the unique texture of the dessert, which is essentially like a cross-breed of ice cream and frozen custard. The vanilla bean serves to enhance the dish's decadence, while the raspberry sauce leaves a final "zip" of acidity to linger on the tongue.
Enjoy the last few days of the season's sunny embrace with a slice of this mouth-watering semifreddo!
Vanilla Bean Semifreddo with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
For the SEMIFREDDO:
-4 Egg Yolks
-3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
-2 C. Heavy Cream
-1 Vanilla Bean
For the SAUCE:
-12 oz. Fresh Raspberries, divided into (2) 6 oz. portions
-6 Tbs. Granulated Sugar
-6 Tbs. Water
Start by lining the inside of a springform pan with plastic wrap. Make sure you cover it thoroughly. (Note: You can use an 8-, 9-, or 10-inch springform – it will only alter the thickness of the semifreddo. This is a matter of personal preference.) Set aside.
To make the semifreddo, begin by beating the egg yolks and ½ C. of the sugar together in a heat-proof bowl. Do this until just combined. Place the bowl on top of a pot of barely simmering water – this acts as a double-boiler set-up. Continue to whisk the egg yolks, either by hand or electric hand-mixer, until thick, pale, and glossy. When lifted with a spoon or whisk, the mixture should form a "ribbon." This will take about 4-8 minutes, depending on which method you choose. Remove from heat and continue whisking for another 1-2 minutes.
Split open the vanilla bean and remove the caviar by scraping the pod with the dull side of the knife. Add the vanilla (from both halves of the pod) to the egg mixture, and whisk until evenly distributed. There should be little flecks of vanilla throughout. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add the heavy cream. Either using a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. At this point, add in remaining ¼ C. sugar. Continue to beat until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Do not overbeat!
Add about ½ C. of the whipped cream to the egg mixture, and gently fold in. This will help lighten the egg mixture. Then, add the lightened egg mixture to the whipped cream and fold. Be sure to fold and not stir or beat, as you do not want to deflate the cream. Continue to fold until everything is combined – about 2 minutes.
Transfer the egg and cream mixture to the springform and gently spread until an even layer covers the bottom of the springform. Try and get the top to be smooth by using a rubber spatula; do not rap the pan against the counter as this will deflate the mixture. Cover the top with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
To make the raspberry sauce, put 6 oz. of the raspberries in a small sauce pan with water and sugar. Simmer over medium-low heat until the raspberries start to break down and the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree – you can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender.
At this point, you can strain the mixture if you like, though it's not necessary as this is more of a home-style sauce.
Return the pureed sauce to the stovetop, and lightly simmer for another 2-4 minutes over medium-low heat. Now remove the saucepan from the burner and gently mix in remaining 6 oz. of raspberries. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until the whole raspberries are softened slightly.
To serve, remove the semifreddo from the freezer. Release the springform and start to unwrap the semifreddo. Be careful, as it is still relatively delicate. Invert onto a serving platter or cake pedestal – the smooth surface from the bottom of the springform should be facing up.
Slice as desired and serve with a generous spoonful of the raspberry sauce. The raspberry sauce can also be served warm.
Store remaining semifreddo in the freezer. Store remaining sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator.