May 06, 2024

Roasted Plum Semifreddo Recipe

Seasonal desserts are especially desirable, as they feature an ingredient at its peak. Tasting Table recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse brings us this dazzling roasted plum semifreddo, which is sure to become a classic. "Plums are such a delicious, juicy summer fruit, but to me stone fruits always spell the beginning of fall," she shares and describes, "This flavor combination is the perfect mashup of the two seasons — bright, ripe summer plums paired with classic fall spices in the form of gingersnaps, all rounded out with the creaminess of a whipped mascarpone filling."

If you can't decide between fresh summer fruits and warming spiced desserts, this frozen treat has you covered. Rosenhouse remarks, "Semifreddos are always impressive to serve, and deceptively simple to make. Once you get this base down, it's easy to swap in different seasonal fruits and cookies to make it your own." Whether you're hosting a dinner party or preparing a special dessert to treat yourself, you won't be disappointed.

For this recipe, you'll need to start by pitting plums and cutting them in half. To season, get some honey, the zest and juice of a lemon, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt. Next, pick up a package of 2-inch gingersnaps for the textured crumb element. As for the creamy layer, you'll need heavy cream, softened mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, a large egg, and a few large egg yolks.

Begin by preheating the oven to 400 F. Next, add the halved and pitted plums to a medium-sized bowl and toss them with honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Transfer them into a baking dish, flipping them so that the sliced side is facing down. Bake the plums for 15 to 20 minutes until the skin is wrinkly and the fruit softens.

Add half of the cooked plums to a bowl and let them cool until they come to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the fruit until it's time to serve the dessert. Leave the remaining plums in the dish and continue baking them for another 10 to 15 minutes until they are very soft. Once the plums are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard them. Then, puree the flesh with a fork or in a blender until it's smooth. Set the plum puree aside until it's time to assemble the cake.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and pop it into the freezer until it's time to assemble the semifreddo. Next, crush 18 gingersnaps until they turn into a fine crumb mixture. Simply snap the other gingersnaps into smaller chunks and set them aside to use for garnish.

Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add half of the lemon zest, mascarpone, ⅓ cup of sugar, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Continue to whip the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Transfer the bowl to the fridge until you need it.

Pour 1 inch of water into a small pot and bring it to a simmer, then decrease the heat to low. In a medium-sized heat-safe bowl, whisk the egg, yolks, and ⅓ cup of sugar until combined. Place the bowl over the pot and continue whisking until the eggs are very warm — Rosenhouse estimates a temperature of 160 F. "Heating eggs over a double boiler can be intimidating! The goal is to keep the water at a very gentle simmer, and constantly move the egg mixture with a whisk or spatula (to avoid scrambled eggs)," Rosenhouse explains.

At this point, remove the bowl from the pot and whip the egg mixture with an electric mixer until it is light and about three times the volume. "Don't underwhip — you want a very voluminous mixture for the most decadent semifreddo," Rosenhouse advises. Retrieve the bowl with the whipped cream and pour half of the egg mixture over top, folding gently until the two are combined. Then, add the rest of the egg mixture and fold it in until the mixture is uniform. "While some semifreddos call for whipping the whites and yolks separately, I like to whip them together in one shot. You achieve the same volume after folding and save yourself some cleanup and time in the process," Rosenhouse comments.

Now that all the components are ready, spread about ¼ of the batter over the bottom of the plastic-lined loaf pan. Spoon some plum puree on top and sprinkle gingersnap crumbs over that. Repeat the three layers three more times, then cover the pan and freeze the dessert for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight until it is firm.

When you are ready to serve the semifreddo, flip it onto a serving plate and remove the mold and the plastic. Rosenhouse suggests briefly running warm water over the bottom of the pan if it isn't coming out easily. Get the plums you set aside in the fridge and slice them into thirds. Scatter them over the top of the semifreddo and pour any juices from the bowl over top. Sprinkle the rest of the gingersnap chunks over top, as well as the lemon zest.

Slice and serve this delicious frozen treat. "It will defrost just enough in the few minutes it takes to try that first bite to be soft and luscious," Rosenhouse describes. She comments, "To me, semifreddos are on the fancier side of dessert offerings. I would serve this at a dinner party, paired with a crisp white wine and a few extra gingersnaps for munching." Once you've served everyone a portion, freeze the dessert until people are ready for seconds to keep it nice and chilled.