One of my favorite things about summer is blackberries. I visit the farmers’ market each Saturday to claim my share. I usually have to arrive early, due to short supply, and hurriedly seek out the blackberry growers first. Then I buy quarts and quarts for eating, baking and freezing (for when they are no longer available).
A local custard joint, Andy’s, also has a seasonal dessert that includes blackberries. I can’t resist dropping by to get my vanilla custard concrete with blackberries and then I add marshmallow. I love this combination. And the blackberries are only available for a few weeks so I have to go every week to get my fill (I would never think about going twice a week…).
I was really excited by this recipe for Blackberry Semifreddo because of the blackberries and the ice cream-like style. Semifreddo is a great dessert because you get the consistency of an ice cream without needing an ice cream maker. And because I can’t resist the combination, I added homemade marshmallow. This dessert is so refreshing and light for summer. And the blackberries shine through like you are eating them straight from the bush.
Blackberry & Marshmallow Semifreddo
- semifreddo adapted from Gourmet
makes 8 servings
- 1 packet of gelatin (1/4 oz packet)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
semifreddo & sauce
- 1 lb fresh blackberries
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 lemon
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
make the marshmallow
Put the gelatin in a small bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of cold water. Let the gelatin sit until it becomes spongy.
In a small saucepan stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of corn syrup and 1⁄4 cup of water. Don’t begin heating, just set aside. In a medium bowl add the rest of the corn syrup. Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, begin to whisk the syrup on low speed.
Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir the gelatin to ensure it is completely melted. Then slowly add the gelatin to the corn syrup mixture. Keep mixer on low speed.
Begin to heat the sugar mixture on the stovetop on medium to high heat. Stir continuously. Use a candy thermometer to watch the temperature. When the thermometer reaches 235 degrees F, remove the saucepan from the heat.
The corn syrup mixture will be thick by this time. Turn the mixer up to medium for one minute, and then slowly add the sugar mixture. Begin mixing on medium-high for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix on high for one minute. The mixture will be very fluffy. Set the marshmallow aside.
make the semifreddo and sauce
Prepare a 5×9 loaf pan with parchment paper. Cut two pieces of parchment paper, each wide enough to cover the bottom of the pan and extended over the sides vertically and horizontally. Ultimately you will use the parchment paper to lift the semifreddo from the loaf pan. Alternatively, you could serve the semifreddo in individual dishes. In that case, no additional preparation of those dishes in necessary.
Puree the blackberries in a food processor, blender or, my favorite, the Magic Bullet. Pour the puree into a mesh sieve and using the back of a spoon or ladle push it through the sieve, separating the juice from the seeds. Divide the juice evenly in two bowls.
In one bowl, make the sauce by adding 2 tablespoons of sugar. Juice the lemon and stir in 1 teaspoon of juice. Cover and chill.
In the second bowl of blackberry puree, add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
In a small saucepan, add about an inch of water and heat to simmer.
Using an electric mixer beat the eggs, salt and 1/3 cup of sugar on medium to high speed for 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture will turn a pale yellow and will double in size.
Place the bowl over the simmering saucepan and insert a candy thermometer into the mixture. Beat with a handheld mixer or whisk vigorously until the thermometer reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat and chill mixture until it is cool. Softly, add in the blackberry puree. Mix until blended.
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Be careful not to over beat. Softly, fold the cream into the blackberry mixture. Once well combined, carefully add three to four spoonfuls of marshmallow to the mixture. You can add more or less marshmallow according to your preference. Stir just until the marshmallow is distributed fairly evenly.
Pour the semifreddo into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer. It will be ready to serve in two hours. Serve within two days.
When semifreddo is frozen (it will still be a bit soft) and you are ready to serve, run a butter knife between the loaf pan and the parchment paper to loosen the semifreddo. Using the edges of the parchment paper, lift the semifreddo from the pan and transfer to a plate to remove the parchment. Serve with the blackberry sauce on a platter cut in slices or on individual plates.