Let the rhubarb recipes commence.
In addition to my current rhubarb obsession, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with the idea of making ice cream. But I don’t have an ice cream maker. So no homemade ice cream for me. But, with the latest issue of Bon Appetit, my attention has refocused on semifreddos. As I’ve learned, semifreddo means half-frozen in Italian. And doesn’t require an ice cream maker.
You know how Top Chef often has challenges in which the chefs are to re-create a favorite childhood dish? I sorta did that. When I was young, one of my favorite summertime desserts was simply called “Strawberry Dessert.” It’s not fancy in any sort of way. A crust of store-bought crushed pecan butter cookies with a thick layer of strawberries folded into Cool Whip. And frozen. A poor man’s semifreddo if you will. I thought it deserved an update.
Remember the lime pecan butter cookies I made over the weekend? Yeah, those. I thought they would make a fantastic crust (but plain old pecan shortbread would work as well). And instead of strawberries, I decided to cook down some of my latest food crush (rhubarb) and make a custard with it. And fold it into some marscapone-laced whipped cream and frozen. Strawberry Dessert from my childhood re-invented to Rhubarb Semifreddo in my adulthood.
Rhubarb Semifreddoserves 6-8 ********** ~ 5 lime pecan butter cookies, crushed (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1 cup raspberries **********
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse cookies to get small crumbs. Press cookie crumbs onto the bottom of loaf pan. Bake about 15 minutes (will be crumbly).
Cook rhubarb and 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat until soft and juicy, ~ 10 minutes. Transfer to blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
(As it turns out, I am renaming the color in my kitchen to rhubarb puree.)
Add rhubarb puree and beat until well mixed. Place bowl atop saucepan of barely simmering water and beat at medium speed until temperature reaches 140 degrees, ~5 minutes. Take off heat and continue beating for 3 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
In stand mixer using whisk attachment, combine 1/4 cup heavy cream, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract.
Gradually beat in remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into rhubarb custard. Fold in raspberries.
Pour over cookie crumbs and freeze, at least 3 hours.
To serve, gently lift parchment paper out of loaf pan and cut semifreddo into slices. Garnish with lime zest.
It might be my rhubarb infatuation talking, but this is fabulous. Cold, creamy and oh so dreamy. Don’t worry that the crust is crumbly. As the semifreddo warms up, it picks up the crumbs in a most delicious way.