The past week has been filled with a flurry of activity. Organizing, coordinating, writing, cooking, shooting, repeat. I've been spending these toasty summer nights relaxing with either a popsicle, cocktail, or mircrobrew in hand to help wind down after the long days (and I mean long, the sun doesn't set around here until about 9:30!) I'd be hard-pressed to find something that goes down as a smooth as a creamy wheat beer on these hot and balmy evenings, and luckily Portland has plenty of those in ready supply. I've made plans to experiment with beer ice cream in the near future, but until then I have something even more delicious to share with you, and that's this Orange-Fennel Semifreddo with Spicy Chocolate Bits & Almond Streusel. Yes, you read that correctly, the most amazing semifreddo title OF ALL TIME. This sweet and spicy creation comes from my dearest friend on the web, Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial. Carey is not only an incredibly talented cook, stylist, and food photographer, but she's one of the kindest ladies I know, and I am so incredibly excited to have her here with us today. Welcome, Carey!!!
Hi guys! I’m so so excited to have a guest post here on Eva’s blog today. Eva and I became fast friends a couple years ago after I left one of my trademark ramblings-of-a-crazy-person comments on her homemade bitters post, and I had the opportunity to meet her in person the following spring when she came out to VT for the King Arthur Flour Blog & Bake. She is one of my favorite gals and a constant source of food and photography inspiration. With that in mind, it seemed fitting that I make a semifreddo for this post, given that (1) I didn’t even understand what semifreddo was until Eva made one last year, and (2) my KitchenAid freezer bowl attachment decided to start leaking blue mystery liquid, putting a damper on my usually excessive ice cream making this summer. So frozen dessert that doesn’t require fancy freezing equipment? I’m in.
I have been thinking about making some sort of orange ice cream-y thing ever since a bar of Chili-Cayenne dark chocolate from Jelina Chocolatier found its way into my life. I am a bit addicted to the Jelina chocolate bars, and will buy one every now and then when I’m having a treatyoself moment. This Chili-Cayenne bar is definitely something else though. The adjective choice of “fire” is very appropriate, as it is the spiciest chocolate I have ever tasted. It’s a bit much for me to eat as is, but it was perfect peppered in amongst the cold, orangey sweetness of this semifreddo. The fennel-infused cream (btw fennel whipped cream might be my new favorite thing) complements the orange custard in a perfect way, and the almond crumble adds a wonderful flavor and texture to the whole dessert. And it slices! Who can resist a sliceable frozen treat? Not me.
Orange-Fennel Semifreddo with Spicy Chocolate Bits & Almond Streusel
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tsp fennel seeds
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
pinch of salt
2 squares of Jelina Chili-Cayenne chocolate, finely chopped (or another spicy chocolate of your choice—if you pick something less fiery, feel free to use more and/or not chop it into teeny tiny pieces)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp almond paste
4 tbsp butter, cubed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Crush fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Combine fennel seeds and heavy cream in a sauce pan and heat until the cream just begins to show signs of simmering around the edges. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for one hour. After an hour, pour the cream through a sieve into a stainless steel bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (ideally), or until cream has chilled completely.
Whip fennel-infused cream to stiff peaks and set aside. Combine egg yolks, sugar, orange juice and zest, and salt in the top of a double boiler. Whisk constantly over simmering water until the mixture has thickened a good deal. Immediately remove from heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat for approximately 6–8 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy and has doubled in volume. Fold whipped cream and chocolate into the mixture, then pour into the loaf pan. Fold plastic wrap over top and freeze until solid (at least 6 hours). Once frozen, unwrap the plastic wrap on top, then invert onto a serving tray (if it doesn’t slide out of the pan right away, give it a few minutes). Unwrap, slice, and serve topped with almond streusel.
To make the streusel: Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until crumbly but not too fine. Spread on a baking sheet (it’s best to not spread it too thin, as it can burn easily), crumbling up any still-large bits of butter or almond paste. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until streusel has just begun to brown around the edges. Let cool, the break it up a bit with your fingers.