Offbeat Bites: Easy No-Churn “Ice Cream”

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.

This recipe is adapted from this recipe, so check it out. Click here or here for other delicious versions of semifreddo, like chocolate or strawberry.

For such a sophisticated-looking dessert, semifreddo has few ingredients. The saying “less is more” certainly applies here.
For such a sophisticated-looking dessert, semifreddo has few ingredients. The saying “less is more” certainly applies here.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Whipped coconut cream is quite thick in comparison to regular whipped cream, but keeps its composure better.
Whipped coconut cream is quite thick in comparison to regular whipped cream, but keeps its composure better.

Beat the coconut cream on medium speed until it holds soft peaks, then set aside in the fridge until needed. Clean the beaters.

The mixture will be nice and syrupy after being boiled.
The mixture will be nice and syrupy after being boiled.

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.

The beaten yolks will be quite viscous at this point.
The beaten yolks will be quite viscous at this point.

Beat egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl, with cleaned beaters, for 4 minutes on high speed, or until thick and pale.

The egg yolks will be especially runny after adding the honey mixture, but will thicken up again after the addition of the gelatin.
The egg yolks will be especially runny after adding the honey mixture, but will thicken up again after the addition of the gelatin.

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.

Once the coconut cream is folded in, the egg mixture will be far lighter than expected.
Once the coconut cream is folded in, the egg mixture will be far lighter than expected.

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.

Depending on the ramekin size, the mixture may fill 4 to 6 ramekins.
Depending on the ramekin size, the mixture may fill 4 to 6 ramekins.

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.

Though it looks pretty when served like this, it is also quite yummy when eaten straight out of the freezer.
Though it looks pretty when served like this, it is also quite yummy when eaten straight out of the freezer.

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

 

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