What a week it has been! We have enjoyed days of beautiful sunshine and unusually high temperatures for this time of the year. The perfect weather for ice cream! I love making ice cream, I even have a gadget for it. But years ago before I could relax and stare as a machine did all the churning and cooling for me, I could not have been bothered with what seemed to be quite an arduous process to me. Hence the semifreddo. A semifreddo is not quite the same as an ice cream, you don’t make a custard and you don’t take it out of the freezer to churn – you just leave it to almost freeze and serve. It really is easy. And it is velvety smooth and unctuously delicious! I was given a copy of Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer by a certain Mother Hen in my life and that is where I found this recipe. I have made different ones, but this very simple recipe always sticks around, so I’m giving you Ms Lawson’s gift. I have made it for people I love and can remember the balmy nights and how the cold cream and warm figs melted together into bowls of communal delight. Don’t freak out, I know they’re not in season yet, but I like to serve this with some roasted figs that have been allowed to cool a little, for me the combination is perfect. I saw some in the shops last week and have not been able to get them out of my mind, such a sensuous fruit – the fig. And as an homage to Annie Caroline, my ‘pudding wine’ buddy and on Nigella’s recommendation – serve it with a rich dessert wine, it really is bliss!
1 egg 300ml double cream
4 egg yolks 25g pine nuts, toasted
100g best-quality honey, plus about 3Tbl for serving
1 fig per person (at least!)
a little butter
some sprigs of rosemary
honey to taste
Line a 1l loaf tin with clingfilm (I like to oil it a little before to help it release a little easier later).
Beat the egg and egg yolks with the honey in a bowl, over a saucepan of gently simmering water, until the mixture is pale and thick. Remove from the heat. Whip the cream until thick, and gently fold into the egg and honey mixture. Pour into the prepared tin and cover carefully with clingfilm before putting in the freezer for about 2-3 hours. (I have done it in advance too, but just remember to take it out early so it has time to thaw.)
When it is ready to serve, turn the semifreddo out onto a suitably sized plate and drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts before slicing.
While the semifreddo is in the freezer, quarter your figs, but don’t cut all the way through. You want to be able to open the fig up like a flower. Place your beauties in a snug-fitting roasting tray and place a little knob of butter in each centre. Place your rosemary on top, I like to gently wedge them into the flowers so they have more contact with the flesh, and then drizzle the honey over. Go slowly, you want it to drizzle into the figs. Turn your oven onto grill and pop them in. This does not take long, watch them and see when they look good to you. I like them just a tad scorched, but take care that they don’t cook too much and become pulpy. Take them out and let them rest a few minutes, so that a) you don’t burn your mouth and b) they don’t melt the semifreddo instantly on contact! Serve a slice of semifreddo with a fig or two on the side – be sure to drizzle some syrupy sauce over the figs and then just relish the lovely contrast of warm and cold… Enjoy!
This semifreddo perfectly showcases some of our finest products. Mooberry cream from Mandy’s hand milked cows is the best cream I can find locally. New Dawn’s eggs are superb! And the Honey Bear raw honeys are a testament to Kim Morgado’s attention to excellence. I like to use richer honeys like the Boekenhout or Avocado, but people’s taste in honey is so varied and Kim’s range is so extensive, that you should experiment with the different flavours. This glorious local produce, ethically and naturally sourced, is our pride and joy at Timothy & Clover – we hope you emjoy as much fun and pleasure as we do in eating it!