Monday, August 17, 2015

Lemon Semifreddo with Berries and Amaretto


Two weeks ago, we hosted our Gourmet Group.  We take our turn hosting in the summer when we can dine outside on our patio.  Fingers, toes and eyes are always crossed that the weather will cooperate.  It did!  Not only did the weather cooperate, it was the weekend of the full 'Blue Moon' so I named our gourmet "Once in a Blue Moon Gourmet" on the invitations.


Our Gourmet Group of five couples is a wonderful opportunity to try new recipes and, yes, we've had some misses but quite a few hits also over the years.  We only meet every two months or so and each couple only hosts once a year. Each couple is assigned one recipe to prepare and finish and plate at the hosts' home - usually an appetizer, soup, salad or dessert.


It's fun to receive the invitations in the mail and see your assigned recipe and either praise or curse the hosts :)  Seriously, as we've been doing this for quite a few years, we try not to over burden anyone in the group.  It needs to be fun and relaxed! Even though we drink less and go to bed earlier than we did a couple of decades ago, we still have fun together keeping the tradition going.


The inspiration for this dessert that I assigned to one of the couples came from Moveable Feasts, a blog I admire and follow.  Barbara has wonderful taste in food and recipes.  Even though the original recipe is made with Meyer lemons, it tastes equally delicious with regular lemons, which are much easier to find here in the Midwest.


We all raved about the dessert the night of our gourmet, and, when we were invited to dinner to a friend's home this past weekend, I jumped at the chance to make the Lemon Semifreddo myself to share with them.  I made two - one to bring to our friends' home and one for my husband and I to share with our family when they come for dinner soon.


The most involved portion of the recipe is making the custard for the semifreddo.  This requires stirring egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar over simmering water for about 10-15 minutes.  The rest is all done with a stand or hand mixer.  Even though the dessert may take 30-45 minutes of time, the reward is that it can, and should, be made a day ahead, and even can be made up to 3 days ahead.  This means no last minute work other than prepping some berries, plating and serving, then waiting for the Ooohs and Ahhhs. 

I hope you have a chance to try this while the weather is still warm!  It made a refreshing finish to our gourmet group dinner.  One day, I hope to share some of the other recipe 'winners' of the night! 

Lemon Semifreddo with Berries and Amaretto


Serves 6-8

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 3/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups sugar
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 large lemons)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups mixed fresh berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and quartered hulled strawberries)
2-3 Tablespoons Amaretto Liqueur

My Notes:  I halved this recipe and then made 1 plus 1/2 recipe.  This made enough for two 9x5x3 pans.  The original recipe calls for the berries to be mixed with sugar.  Instead of sugar, we used Amaretto which added a wonderful flavor to compliment the toasted almonds on the semifreddo.  We also used regular lemons rather than Meyer lemons and it was delicious using regular lemons. Also, if you have a stand mixer, such as a KitchenAid, you can whip the cream first using the metal bowl and transfer the whipped cream to a regular bowl to refrigerate.  Then, wash and reuse the metal bowl over the pan of simmering water to make the custard.  Then, it's simple to place the bowl back on the mixer to whip the custard.  

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sliced almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, watching carefully in the last few minutes so they do not burn.  Set aside to cool.

Line a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang. Sprinkle toasted almonds evenly over bottom of pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream while making custard.

Whisk 1-1/4 cups sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt in large metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over large saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until yolk mixture is thick and fluffy and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°F.  This took 10-15 minutes on my

Remove bowl from over simmering water. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until cool, thick, and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes. Fold in chilled whipped cream. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and smooth top. Tap loaf pan lightly on work surface to remove air pockets. Fold plastic wrap overhang over top to cover. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

DO AHEAD: Semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.

Gently mix all berries and 2-3 tablespoons of Amaretto liqueur in a large bowl.

Unfold plastic wrap from top of semifreddo and invert dessert onto platter; remove plastic wrap. Dip heavy large knife into hot water; cut semifreddo crosswise into 1-inch or so slices.

Transfer to plates; spoon berries alongside and serve.

48 comments:

  1. Beautiful dessert. Your tables look lovely for your party! Have a great week.

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    1. Thank you, Julie! It was a lovely night - we were very lucky :)

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  2. Looks and sounds wonderful. What a pretty venue for dining!
    Enjoy your evening.

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    1. Thank you, Glenda! It was a memorable evening. We are blessed to have such long-standing friendships.

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  3. I love all with lemon Susan! This semifreddo look wonderful and what beautiful pictures!!
    xoxo

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  4. How perfect! I love the fact that the invitations are printed. Very classy and a nice addition to one's memory book.
    We haven't been a part of a gourmet group since our Lubbock, Texas years. There, it was out of necessity. Alas, there was no Amazon to provide us with unusual food "stuffs". Once, a friend and I had to make the sacrifice of traveling to Dallas to get what we needed!! Of course we stayed a few days and treated ourselves to some fine Dallas food. Lovely setting for delicious food in your garden.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. What a sacrifice you made :) it's true, Bonnie. We never had the variety of food and seasionings so readily available years ago. Thank you!

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  5. wow..what a lovely garden party! And that semifrodo looks heavenly. You did an excellent job creating such a glorious dessert, Susan.

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    1. It was a wonderful night, thank you, Angie! The lemon semifreddo was the perfect ending :)

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  6. This looks glorious! So summery and happy :)

    Sues

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  7. I love Barbara's blog and I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one with Summertime sweets on my mind! I adore all things lemon and can't wait to try this recipe - thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie! I finally came to know that you were both from Boca and both have ties to Savor the Moment - which I was able to find online ;)

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  8. A very pretty summer dessert Susan! I love the serving dish too:@)

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  9. This is exactly what summer is all about. Great food and friends getting together on the patio and enjoying each others company. Looks like a great party and a perfect dessert. So beautiful too.
    Sam

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    1. It was a gorgeous evening which made it even more enjoyable. No mosquitoes either ;) Thank you, Sam!

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  10. I love the idea of this dinner group! So fun. The semifreddo sounds like the perfect end to a summer meal. Cold, sweet, tart, and refreshing!

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    1. It is such a great way to get together, Joanne! Especially for people who love to cook. Thank you!

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  11. It's just like a dream your Gourmet night..I always love your seating around the pool..so pretty..like a mini wedding..Susan the invites are gorgeous..sweet:) The dessert looks like summer..fantastic.I have envied your diner group ever since you told me..you are a great bunch of friends..treasures...rare.

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    1. When the weather cooperates, it is like a midsummer's dream :) I have saved most of the invitations over the years - a real file drawer full! We know we are so lucky. Our daughters tell us the same thing. Rare, wonderful friendships.

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  12. Oh boy does this ever look delicious and refreshing. Lemon desserts are a favorite of mine so I can't wait to try this. I love the idea of your gourmet group.

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    1. I know you will would love it, Linda. I feel exactly the same about lemon desserts. Or chocolate too ;)

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  13. What a lovely dinner party. And the dessert sounds fabulous. I can see why everyone loved it!!

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    1. Thank you, Chris! We love our group of friends who love to cook and entertain as much as we do.

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  14. Great recipe Susan and what a great group. I'd love to find folks like that here! I have those yellow striped napkins, but I'd rather have the McKenzie Child's bowl!

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  15. The dessert looks and sounds delicious and the setting looks awesome.

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    1. Thanks, Larry! We really got lucky with the weather :)

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  16. I love semifreddo and wonder why I don't see it more in Italian restaurants menu. Much better than panna cotta in my opinion. Your photos are always lovely and so enticing. Your parties sound like the Great Gatsby minus the craziness :)

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    1. We don't see it much on Italian restaurant menus here either, Jourmana. Strange! Thank you!

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  17. What a fun way to entertain! I've always wanted to make a semifreddo - it's on the bucket list! Your tables look lovely and the dessert looks divine. This sounds like a very special group :)

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    1. Thank you, Tricia! It is a special group and a special dessert. I know you would love it!

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  18. Perfect flavors and it looks gorgeous, Susan! I can imagine how delicious also and must try this! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Pam! Definitely special occasion worthy!

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  19. semifreddo is the best dessert for hot summer,I can't wait to try ! Have a nice weekend my dear, a wam hug

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    1. Thank you, Chiara. So many wonderful recipes from Italy ;). Hugs xo

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  20. Thanks so much for your sweet comments, Susan! And I'm so pleased everyone liked it so much.
    I didn't know you sent out official invitations...they are lovely. They add just the right elegant touch to your Gourmet group evenings. The entire event is such a clever idea, so much fun for us to read about and your table settings outside are so glamorous. Would love to be a part of this!

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    1. Thank you, Barbara, and thank you for a wonderful recipe that will be enjoyed again in the future!

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  21. Hi Susan, your gourmet cooking group sounds like a lot of fun, love, love your semifreddo with berries and also the fact that you can make it ahead of time.

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  22. Fabulous dessert. I just love lemon ANYTHING so something cold and creamy and lemony always sets my ears to perking up and my mouth watering. beautiful dessert, you have very lucky friends.

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  23. Your guests are truly lucky, Susan.
    Such a beautiful and elegant presentation and the touch of Amaretto for the lemon semifreddo tops it all- so yummy. Pinned!

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  24. Looks like it was a really lovely party and the lemon semifreddo looked irresistible! Thanks for the recipe!

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  25. Looks like it was a really lovely party and the lemon semifreddo looked irresistible! Thanks for the recipe!

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  26. I always wanted to make this one! This looks amazingly delicious! Your dinner group sounds so much fun! We have something similar with friends but not quite elaborates as yours... Xo

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