March 8, 2011
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’m giving away Treasures of Sicilian Cuisine.
To be eligible to win the book (published in Palermo and translated into English), just write a comment on this post or on one of my previous three posts between now and March 13. (I’ll randomly draw a name from a hat. You need to have an address in the U.S. or Canada.)
I concocted the very last recipe in the book: almond semifreddo with chocolate sauce. Semifreddo is what I always order for dessert in Sicilian restaurants so I was leery of a homemade version, but indeedy it measured up and sweetened my mood.
Below is the recipe; the adjustments I made are noted in italics. I actually ended up with 12 good-size ramekins of semifreddo, so unless you are feeding a tableful of Sicilian stallions, I’d recommend cutting the recipe in half.
Almond Semifreddo (Italian Soft Ice Cream), serves 8
12 oz shelled blanched almonds (I used less for a full batch, more like 8 oz)
2 cups whipped cream
1.5 cups fine sugar (I used less, knowing how teeth-achingly sweet Sicilian recipes can be)
7 oz dark chocolate
1 tbsp butter (I omitted this)
3 tbsp milk (I omitted this)
Pour 7 ounces (=1 cup, but I used a lot less) sugar in a saucepan with one (healthy) tablespoon of water and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the almonds and stir until the sugar coats the almonds. Put on a greased marble board (I used a plastic cutting board without grease and it worked fine) and separate the almonds and let them cool. Separate the eggs. Beat egg whites stiff with a pinch of salt. Beat egg yolks and remaining sugar (=1/2 cup–I used a little less) until smooth. Mince the almonds (I put ’em in a plastic bag and smashed ’em) and add to the eggs, keeping 4-5 tbsp aside for the decorations (I forgot so I added a few chopped walnuts on top instead). Combine the whipped cream and the egg mixtures. Pour into a mold or several little molds (I used ramekins) and keep in the freezer for at least 8 hours (I took them out after 4 hours). Dissolve the chocolate, in a bain marie, in the butter and a few tablespoons of milk and simmer until smooth (I skipped the bain marie part, as well as the butter and milk and just melted some good chocolate with a dab of water in a heavy enamel pan). Remove semifreddo from mold (I dunked the molds in a little hot water to help release it) and top with the hot melted chocolate and minced almonds.
See my Ode to Sicilian Women here.