“THEY SAY A PERSON NEEDS JUST THREE THINGS TO BE TRULY HAPPY IN THIS WORLD: SOMEONE TO LOVE, SOMETHING TO DO, AND SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR.” Tom Bodett
I just love this quote! It rings so true for me. But the other three things it takes for me to be happy are pistachio, vanilla and strawberry! I know it’s not the classic trio of flavors, but I would gladly trade chocolate for pistachio anytime! I think ice cream is easier to make than a semifreddo (of course….because my ice cream maker does all the work!) But I must admit it is satisfying to make a frozen treat by hand. And this is definitely a much lighter version of ice cream. Not at all difficult to make. Just need a little patience and waiting time between layers. But what a pretty presentation…..
This is easy to do…just take it in steps. Here’s what you need..
- 1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 4 Tablespoons of granulated sugar, divided PLUS 1/2 cup
- 1 cup cream, divided (you can also use any percent of milk to lighten this up)
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 1 cup of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
Line a loaf pan or mold with 2 layers of plastic wrap, making sure you have a generous overhang on all sides. (I used an 11 1/2 x 5 x 3 inch creuset loaf pan but a 9 x 5 x 3 inch bread pan will work as well.) You will need 3 medium bowls for each of the 3 next steps. Don’t be tempted to use a smaller bowl because you will be adding whipped eggs and whipped cream to these mixtures later in the recipe.
Grind the pistachios with 2 TBSP of sugar in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Transfer the pistachios to a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup cream. Bring this to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain, discarding solids. Stir in the almond extract and set the mix aside.
Place remaining 1/2 cup cream in a separate small saucepan. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and then add the bean pod. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for another 15-20 minutes. Set a strainer over another medium bowl and strain, discarding bean pod and solids. Chill the vanilla cream mixture.
Puree the strawberries and 2 TBSP sugar in the food processor until smooth. Set a mesh strainer over another medium bowl and strain, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids, add the vanilla, and set the strawberry mix aside.
Whisk the eggs, salt and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium metal bowl. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water, being careful not to allow the bowl to touch the water. With a hand mixer, beat the egg at a high speed until it triples in volume and when a thermometer inserted into the mix registers 170°F. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to beat until thick and cool, about another 3-5 minutes. Add 1/3 of the egg mixture to each of the three bowls of pistachio, strawberry, vanilla mixes. Fold each just to blend.
Beat the cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Then add 1/3 of the whipped cream to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla mixtures. Fold each to blend. At this point I added a couple of drops of green food coloring to the pistachio mix. This is optional, but the mix is more brown than green without it. I also added a couple of drops of red food coloring to the strawberry mix to make it a more vivid pink. Pour the pistachio mix into the pan and smooth the top. Cover and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Keep the strawberry and vanilla mixes in the fridge to chill. Next, pour the strawberry mix gently on top of the pistachio layer. Smooth the top and freeze until firm, again, about 45 minutes. Finally pour vanilla mix over strawberry layer, smooth the top and cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for about 4 hours, till firm.
When ready to serve, uncover the mold and lift out by using the saran wrap as an aid. No matter how careful you are in smoothing the saran in the mold, the edges of the semifreddo may have wrinkles and dents. Using a knife, just trim by cutting a thin slice from all 4 sides. Place on a chilled plate and slice.
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine