Chef’s note: This “ice cream” is actually a semifreddo, which is basically a frozen mousse. Therefore it resembles an ice cream, but has a lighter texture and flavor, and requires no churning. The dish originates from Italy, and literally translates to “half-cold”, a fitting name. This particular recipe is simple in flavoring, but other variations exist, just as tasty as this one.
Coconut cream is used here in place of regular whipping cream because it’s far more stable, and tastes delightful in combination with honey, but regular heavy cream may be used in place for an especially light texture. The coconut cream also means it’s dairy-free, and friendly to those heavily afflicted with lactose intolerance.
¼ teaspoon of unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons water, separated into 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons
¾ cup of coconut cream
3 tablespoons of honey, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons of sugar
⅛ teaspoon of salt
3 egg yolks
chopped nuts, for serving
Sprinkle gelatin over the 1 tablespoon of water, and let it stand to swell for about 5 minutes.
Beat the coconut cream on medium speed until it holds soft peaks, then set aside in the fridge until needed. Clean the beaters.
Stir together the honey, sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat, until boiling. Continue stirring until sugar is totally dissolved, then let it boil, undisturbed, for about 4 minutes.
Beat egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl, with cleaned beaters, for 4 minutes on high speed, or until thick and pale.
Reduce speed to medium, and gradually beat in the hot honey mixture.
Add the gelatinous water to the still-hot small saucepan and swirl it the pan for a few seconds. Beat the re-liquified gelatin mixture into the egg yolk mixture as well, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooled, pale, and thick.
Add one third of the chilled whipped coconut cream into the egg yolk mixture with a rubber spatula, folding until lightened and just combined.
Carefully fold in the remaining whipped coconut cream gently yet thoroughly.
Divide the mixture evenly among 4 – 6 ramekins, or spread into a loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours. They will stay for up to a week.
To serve, dip each ramekin (or the loaf pan) in cool water for 3 seconds. Slide a sharp knife around the edge of the semifreddo to loosen it from the sides, then invert onto a serving plate. Serve with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of toasted nuts.
All photos by Lauren Quinn