One of my favorite summer-time treats is homemade ice cream. I remember watching my mom standing over a simmering pot of custard, surrounded by a pile of just peeled Michigan peaches. Meanwhile, my dad was getting the ice cream maker set-up out on the porch. That ice cream maker was quite an impressive machine: a wooden bucket containing a stainless steel bowl with motorized paddle. He filled the wooden bucket with ice and topped it with salt over and over, again to eventually freeze the custard mixture. The sound of that motor running to turn that paddle for what seemed like hours is still a really happy sound to my ears.
However, that whole process was really messy (think melting, salty ice everywhere), and thus we only made one batch of ice cream each year. So sad!
There are several newer, simpler ice cream makers on the market, but how many gadgets can one household store?! Luckily, I’ve discovered semifreddo and it does NOT require an ice cream maker.
Semifreddo is like a frozen mousse because it is a blend of both custard and whipped cream. And it is terrific! I’m sure I’ll try many variations of this recipe this summer (peach, almond, coconut, mango, chocolate, hazelnut, cherry, etc.), but for now I’d like to share with you this combination of strawberry and pistachio.
The pistachio is in honor of my dad. Some of my earliest memories of him include those crazy, red-colored pistachio shells. He had those things everywhere! They were stuck in the side of his recliner (and underneath it in the little collection bin built into the recliner for just such an occasion?). They were scattered on the floor of his car. At his office. I always think of pistachios as a Man Snack, and particularly my dad’s snack. Luckily, the shells are no longer dyed red, and even better, you can get them already shelled.
The strawberry is because they are fresh and local and delicious right now. And, because that is what Martha Stewart calls for in this recipe from Living magazine. So, without further ado…here’s the step-by-step process in pictures. EnJOY!
- 1/2 cup unsalted roasted shelled pistachios
- 8 oz strawberries, hulled (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Line a standard 5×9″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
- Pulse pistachios in a food processor until coarsely chopped (some will break down to a coarse grind). Transfer to a small bowl; do not wipe processor bowl clean.
- Place strawberries and 3 Tbsp. sugar in the bowl of the food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir puree, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.
- Combine egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir vigorously by hand until pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes.
- Beat together cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Whisk 1/2 of whipped cream into egg mixture, whisking until smooth, then fold into remaining cream with a rubber spatula just until thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour 1/2 of cream mixture into strawberry puree. Gently fold together until thoroughly incorporated, then pour into loaf pan and smooth top.
- Fold pistachios into remaining cream mixture and pour evenly over strawberry cream; smooth top.
- Fold plastic over surface and freeze at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.
- To serve: peel plastic from surface. Invert pan onto a cutting board. Unmold semifreddo, remove plastic, and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slices.