Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo


What can I say? I know it's only March. I KNOW. I am fully aware of the fact that very large parts of the country are probably covered in snow, or ice, or whatever it is that happens in places where it's cold. But here in California? It was 80 degrees today. It was a great day for ice-cream.

We went down to Seal Beach today where Nate was learning to surf. Believe it or not, not everyone who lives in California knows how to surf. Although we have lived here all our lives, we only just got around to the surfing, well, now. I, personally, hate the ocean. Ok, well I don't hate the ocean per se, I mean I like that it's there, I just don't see any point in going into it. It's wet. And it's cold. And it's salty. And there are fish in it. Ew.


This is Nate giving me the look that says, "I've been surfing for 4 hours, I will humor you with that camera for about 5 seconds woman."

Today happened to be the big "Polar Bear Plunge" event in Seal Beach. Apparently, this is a BIG DEAL. There were camera crews, a helicopter, photographers, sections of the beach roped off, a fire-truck, paramedics, tons of life guards on surf-boards, and of course, a huge crowd perched on the pier ready to cheer the swimmers on. At the signal, a crowd of participants dressed in bathing suits and costumes, some of them even waving plungers, rushed into the water and started jumping up and down in the waves. Polar Bear Plunge my foot. It was 80 degrees outside!

Time for ice-cream. This is meyer lemon semifreddo. Because even though it's cold everywhere else, ice-cream season is here for California!


Meyer Lemon Semifreddo

I'm not going to lie: I was totally inspired for this desert by these gorgeous pictures over at Canelle et Vanille. My goodness! Looking at those I think I've died and gone to dessert heaven. However, (and I know this is me being a stupid American), I can't even begin to figure out how many egg yolks 40 grams equals, and although I looked at two grocery stores (even the healthy ones which carry odd products!) I couldn't find glucose for the life of me. So I played around with this recipe instead.

OMG. This was so simple! And what a big payoff in terms of taste and texture! Why have I never tried this before? It's like eating a cloud! It's very different from traditional ice-cream; it's much lighter and fluffier. Two thumbs definitely way up.

This is my adaptation of the recipe from

For this recipe, you need 1 3/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, 1 1/4 cups white sugar, 7 large egg yolks, 3 mayer lemons (substitute regular lemons in you can't find meyers, but it WILL be more acidic.) and a pinch of salt. (I found that this time, my meyer lemons were VERY sweet and mild. Next time I might do halvsies with real lemons to get a tarter flavor and balance out the sweet).

First thing to do is zest those lemons. Then juice them.

Whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl, and refrigerate.

Combine eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a heat-proof bowl (I use my mixer bowl) and whisk to combine.

Place the bowl over simmering water, and whisk constantly until it reaches 170 degrees, about 4 minutes. (I set a timer!) OR, if you don't have a candy thermometer, whisk until the sugar is dissolved into the egg yolks, and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Remove from the heat, and beat mixture on high for about 6 minutes (set a timer), until the mixture is cool, doubles in volume, and is pale and taffy-like.

Gently fold in 2 tbs of the lemon curd.

Gently fold in the whipped cream.


Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spoon semifreddo batter into loaf pan. Stick in the back of the freezer, and let harden for at least 8 hours, up to overnight.

To serve, remove from freezer and cut in slices. top with fresh berries, lemon zest, or almonds. Enjoy!


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