Preserved Lemon Semifreddo with Basil Syrup

Studded with lemon zest and little bits of sweetened preserved lemons, cream and egg whites balance the tartness from the lemons, and the basil becomes a sweet counterpoint. It is a treat for open minded gourmand. I strongly recommend it, but only if you can face a polite rejection. Sweet Basil is apparently not for everyone.. Salty lemon does not offend unprepared taste buds as much as the basil in desert does.. Amazing.

  • 1 small preserved lemon, finely diced
  • Zest 1/2 lemon
  • 60ml water
  • 100g sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 230ml heavy cream
  • Basil Syrup
  1. Prepare a loaf pan by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray and lining it with 2 large pieces of plastic wrap which hang over the edges of the pan.
  2. Place the finely diced preserved lemon pieces in a mesh sieve, and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Pat dry with paper towels.

Make the lemon simple syrup

  1. Combine the dry preserved lemon pieces, the lemon zest, the water, and the sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat just until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
  3. Use the mesh strainer to separate the lemon bits from the syrup; keep both components.
  4. Beat the cream in a stand mixer on high just until stiff.
  5. Set aside.

Build the Semifreddo

  1. In a clean mixer bowl, mix the egg whites on high until they begin to take shape and froth. Slowly pour the lemon syrup into the egg whites while the mixer is on medium-low speed. Then turn up the speed to high, and beat until the whites are glossy and doubled in volume–about 5 or 6 minutes.
  2. Fold the reserved lemon bits into the egg whites carefully. Do the same with the whipped cream. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and cover the top with the over-hanging plastic wrap.
  3. Refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.
  4. Invert it onto a big plate, and remove the plastic.
  5. Serve in one piece, to be demolished by the diners, or slice – not too thinly – and serve individual portions.
  6. Spoon Basil Syrup over the the semifreddo and allow it to pool down the sides.

Serve extra syrup for drizzling over each slice.

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