A Super Peachy Semifreddo
I almost filed this away as a post for next summer since I was really late in getting this up and now it’s September (sobs). Should I even post something that is for keeping cool in the dead of summer? I didn’t need cooling off from today’s autumn-like, blustery winds and rain but I do want to willfully ignore that summer is over so I will pretend that the cicadas are still singing in the hazy heat.
Sue Riedl from the awesome blog cheese and toast perfectly expressed her grief at summer’s passing by “clutching onto its leg and crying.” She’s clutching onto one leg and I’m clutching onto the other. If you want to join us in not letting go, then this absolute peach of a semifreddo is for you. You can still find the last of the summer peaches at the markets and green grocers but you’ll need to hurry.
This semifreddo is totally peachy and I’m not speaking figuratively. It literally screams Peach! Peach! Peach! as it melts on your tongue. Its flavour is clearly focused on this fuzzy late summer bounty. Compared to the divinely creamy peach semifreddo I wrote about before, the dairy in this version is kept to a minimum so peaches can be front and center and the texture a bit more icy.
I found this recipe on my semifreddo research trip to the Toronto Reference Library. Out of all the books I flipped through looking for semifreddo recipes, I found what I was looking for in Silver Spoon, a tome of Italian cookery that not only breaks up the recipes by courses but then also gives you the geographic provenance of each dish because Italian cooking is never just Italian – each dish comes from a very specific nook of Italy.
Peach and Amaretti Semifreddo from the Piemonte region
Silver Spoon (Phaidon Press, 2005)
2 lbs ripe peaches (about 7-9 peaches depending on size)
2/3 cup coarsely crushed amaretti cookies
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream*
1 large egg, separated (you’ll only need the white for this recipe)
*your cream should be at least 30% butterfat so it can be whipped into proper peaks
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.
Whip the cream until it stands up in stiff peaks. Set aside. Whip the egg white until it’s glossy and stands up in stiff peaks. Set aside.
Peel and pit the peaches. If you need a refresher on how to do this, check out this post. After prepping the fruit, chop them up roughly and toss them into a food processor or blender with the amaretti cookies and sugar. Puree until smooth. You don’t want any chunks of peach. When you open the lid of the processor/blender, the peach slurry will smell divine. You might want to slurp this stuff with a spoon. You’ve been warned.
Pour the peach mix into a large bowl and then fold in the whipped cream and stiffly whipped egg white. Be gentle so you don’t deflate either of the whipped items. That air in the egg white and whipped cream will give your semifreddo lift.
Pour the mixture into the prepped loaf pan and freeze for four hours to set.
The cookbook advises that the semifeddo should be turned out onto a serving platter. I took it out of the freezer, let it thaw out a little bit while sitting out at room temperature for 15 minutes and then flipped it over onto a plate. I took a good, hard look at its homely self. Regardless of my apprehension of its looks, I was going to photograph it as it lay whole on the plate. My boyfriend walks by and grimaces, “you’re not going to shoot it like that, are you?” I tried taking a beauty shot of it, but no matter what angle, it still just looked like a pale peach homogenous loaf. Regardless of appearance, the taste is AMAZING. Don’t bother with showing anyone what it looks like whole. This semifreddo should be scooped and served in dishes just like ice cream.
Hold onto that summer feeling.