Semifreddos are Italian desserts, a sort of frozen mousse that gives the luscious creamy lightness of ice cream without requiring an ice cream maker. In this version, the semifreddo is flavored with ground toasted almonds and sweetened with honey, then served with a puddle of apples cooked in a honey sauce.
Makes 8 servings
3/4 cup toasted almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup honey
1 cup heavy cream, minus 2 tablespoons (reserve the 2 tablespoons for use in the topping)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
For The Topping
2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 firm apples, cored and cut into slices or cubes
Line a standard (9-by-5-inch) loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment, letting it overhang on the sides. If using plastic wrap, smooth as much as possible to avoid wrinkles in the finished semifreddo.
Grind the almonds along with the sugar and salt in a food processor until reduced to a fine meal, and set aside.
Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks, then set aside. Repeat with the heavy cream. Mix together the egg yolks and the honey, and beat until thick and pale. Add the extracts and the ground almond meal, and mix until combined. Add the reserved whipped cream and fold until just combined. Fold in the egg whites, then spread the mixture into the prepared dish. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.
When you're almost ready to serve, prepare the topping. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the honey, lemon juice, cream and salt and stir until mixed. Add the apples and simmer, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens and the apples are tender, 5 to7 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
To serve, cut slices of the semifreddo and ladle some of the apple-honey sauce alongside. The semifreddo melts easily, so dig in quickly.