This recipe, and several others, are published in Semifreddo, a featured article by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, in the current edition of Fine Cooking magazine (Scarbrough, Mark, and Bruce Weinstein, “Semifreddo.” Fine Cooking Aug/Sept 2013: 80 – 85). I’ve proudly served many kinds of ice cream and sorbets but I’ve only tried semifreddo in restaurants and, if truth be told, I thought they were bland and insipid. The magazine article’s authors were quite convincing though when they described semifreddo: “We think it’s the richest, must luscious, and probably most decadent member of the frozen desert family.” They had me at decadent.
I chose their rasberry-balsamic semifreddo because red raspberries are at their peak in the Northwest now and I have been anxious to try a fantastic balsamic vinegar I recently brought home from Benessere, the best place to buy premium oils and vinegars in Portland. You can find the recipe at Fine Cooking’s website: Raspberry-balsamic Semifreddo. A note about Chambord, the blackberry liqueur used in this recipe: definitely use it if you can afford it but any seedless, berry syrup would do. This semifreddo proved to be a remarkably flavorful and velvety dessert. I strongly suggest giving this one a try.
Semifreddo is Italian for “half cold”. It usually contains meringue and whipped cream making it lighter than ice cream, it doesn’t freeze solid, and is soft and creamy to the taste. Another component that I was anxious to try for the first time was zabaglione, a light egg and sugar based sauce to which you can add flavorings such as chocolate, liqueurs, and fruit. Since semifreddo does not require an ice cream maker you can make it in a loaf pan and freeze it in your freezer. If you can whip cream, egg whites, and gently cook a zabaglione in a double boiler you can make semifreddo.