A Semifreddo for You

Coffee Caramel Semifreddo

2 egg whites   and   ½ cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream   and   ¼ cup sugar

½ cup sugar  and   ¼ cup water

1 T. heavy cream

¼ cup of your strongest coffee, or 2 shots espresso, still hot

2 drops vanilla

Start with the caramel/coffee syrup. Place sugar in the pot first, ½ cup in middle of bottom. Add the water in a drizzle around the outer edge of the pot to contain the sugar. Turn on medium heat and allow the sugar to melt into the water, just swirling the pan, no need to stir. About now, take a large bowl that your pot can fit inside and fill ½ full with ice/water for chilling down the syrup.

When the sugar melts, turn up heat to medium high and watch as the syrup starts to bubble. You want to see a continuous mild bubbling, no rising up the pan sides, no furious steam. Leave this cooking, no stirring, for about 4-5 minutes, it will develop a slight golden color. Stop the heat, take off burner, and drizzle in the coffee while mixing. The caramel might gunk up, this is a cooking term, on your utensil. Put the pot back on heat for a minute, stirring vigorously until it all melts back together and is bubbling again. Add the cream and vanilla and whip smooth. Now, take off heat and set pot into that bowl of ice water to chill down for the next step.

Whip the egg whites in a bowl way too large for them, this is the bowl everything will eventually go into, until frothy. Remember the whites must be free of any egg yolk and bowl and whip must be oil free. Oil messes with an egg whites ability to expand and take up the air.

When frothy add the sugar in two batches, whipping furiously until glossy, thick and firm. Set aside, and whip the cream until soft peaks form, add sugar and whip 10 more seconds.

The syrup is cold. Right?

Fold the whipped cream into the egg whites carefully, in two batches. Add the syrup to this mixture in 3 batches, I know it doesn’t look like much to fold, but if you dump it in all at once and try to fold it in the mixture is just too watery and you loose your loft and texture. Have some respect for just what the egg whites can do here.

Place the now mixed semifreddo into a 3 cup, small loaf pan that has been lined with plastic wrap up over the sides. This is the traditional shape of most semifreddos. Freeze this for at least 6 hours, completely solid, yet still delicate and soft. As you can see, I am using my mom’s old tin almond roca can for a form, because I like the wedge shape I will cut pieces into, and…….this was my mom’s tin for baking her date walnut pudding every Christmas when we were kids.

Now, decide what will accompany, compliment, the desert because, frankly, this is a very sweet thing. I don’t care for berries and coffee together in such an intense combo. Chocolate ganache added in some way would be over the top. If you are trying to equate your cooking style with the degree of ardor you have for your guest…..this would be it.

Let’s use peaches or nectarines, just one or two slices, on the side, or artfully draped over the top. Simple. Fantastic. Here’s what we did:

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