yossy's rhubarb semifreddo

yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table

I absolutely love it when my friend's cookbooks come out and the pastry/dessert ones take a special place in my heart. A couple of months ago, I shared a quatro leches recipe from Sam's book which is now nominated for a James Beard award! Sam does an amazing job of bringing spices into desserts and she does that with finesse. Congrats, Sam!

Now another dear friend from New York, Yossy of the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. has a new dessert cookbook out called Sweeter off the Vine! Yossy deals with desserts in her own special and unique way, she passionately infuses flavors from her life into each and every treat listed in her book. The lemon verbena olive oil cake, the mint infused ice cream with cacao nibs, the blood orange old-fashioned donuts, the apricot berry galette with saffron sugar are just some of the delicious recipes that are included in her book. What makes this book special to me, is the way Yossy weaves a rich tapestry of her culture and life into each recipe, her Persian heritage, growing up in Seattle and her life in Brooklyn, it all comes together in the ingredients, flavors but it's Yossy's way and it's perfect! It's her amazing story and this book goes straight into my dessert/baking collection that will always be cherished for years to come.

Now for this rhubarb semifreddo......

From its big floppy leaves, to its beautiful stalks, rhubarb is beautiful (and poisonous - the green parts) but it's a resilient plant to grow. It dies and comes back every spring. And if you love rhubarb, you will love this semifreddo from Yossy! It's creamy and smooth, and like a slab of marble with tiny flecks of roasted pink rhubarb stalks embedded in sweet frozen custard. Another winning feature, it's not too sweet and you can actually taste the flavor of the rhubarb. The distinct jammy flavor of rhubarb is not to be missed and I'm actually happy her recipe doesn't ask for mixing in strawberries, you can taste the rhubarb! She has quite a few serving options, from whipped cream, to pistachios, to a rhubarb compote (which I didn't prepare, the recipe is in her book), so many options that are all good! Though I intended to make her rhubarb compote, I ran out at the last minute and used some leftover lingonberry jam thinned out with a little hot water and a splash of bourbon. That's the beauty of Yossy's semifreddo and like many of the recipes in her book, she gives you a delicious recipe and you can enjoy it anyway you want to! 

In Yossy's own words here is her recipe!

yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table
yossy's rhubarb semifreddo| A Brown Table

rhubarb semifreddo (from Yossy's Sweeter off the Vine)

yields: 8 to 10 servings

ingredients

12 ounces(340g) rhubarb stalks, leaves removed

1 cup (200g) sugar

1/4 teaspoon finegrain salt

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (355mL) heavy cream

1/2 cup (60g) chopped pistachios, to serve (optional)

lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve (optional)

strawberry or berry or rhubarb jam or compote (optional)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Line a 9X5X3 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, making sure there are at least 3 inches of overhang on each side.

2. To roast the rhubarb: Slice the rhubarb stalks into 2-inch pieces and put them in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the sugar and salt over the top and toss gently to combine. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and juicy. Let the rhubarb cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You should have 2 cups of rhubarb purée. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 

3. Whip the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until the eggs are light in color and have nearly tripled in volume, about 7 minutes. In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, whip the cream to soft peaks. 

4. Whisk the chilled rhubarb purée into the eggs until well combined. Don't worry if the eggs lose some volume. Fold in the whipped cream, then spread the mixture in the prepared pan, and smooth the surface. Fold the plastic wrap over the top to cover, pressing it against the surface to seal. Freeze until completely firm, at least 6 hours to overnight. 

5. To serve: unwrap the plastic from the top of the pan, invert the semifreddo onto a platter, and remove the remaining plastic. Serve thick slices of semifreddo with a bit of whipped cream and chopped pistachios or a spoonful of jam/compote. Extra semifreddo can be stored in a freezer, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. 

Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi, copyright 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce| A Brown Table

I have some exciting news to share with you! If you've ever wanted to see me behind the scenes and see what goes on in my kitchen then you must watch this beautifully shot KQED/PBS documentary on my work. The documentary came out last week and was produced by Jessica Jones who is an extremely talented and gifted artist (you must check out all the other wonderful videos she's produced!). We bought spices from one of my favorite new spots, Oaktown Spice Shop where I got to hang out with the owner John Beaver who was super kind to let us use his space. Vanilla beans from Madagascar to Tahitian, large jars of spices in a gorgeous space that could make you swoon with envy. The shelves, the hutches, the jars, I could go on and on. Some of those spices made it to the pie (that's in the video) and others I plan on using soon. 

Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland CA |A Brown Table
Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland CA |A Brown Table

Most of the time when it comes to gluten-free baking, I tend to plan for disasters. You never how things will turn out or taste, the lack of gluten makes for a high-risk cake venture that could easily end up in the garbage. But thankfully with this new Baking flour mix from Bob's Red Mill, it's now much easier! Every trial with this cake recipe worked perfectly and the cake crumb is delicate and delicious. It takes the guess work out of gluten-free baking and it's now become a must when I have to bake gluten-free cakes for my friends who are sensitive and have dietary issues.

This cake is a tea cake, if anything. And, if you like the scent of freshly toasted pistachios then you will love this cake. This baked cake once inverted has an almost speckled appearance with the toasted pistachios nestled in the cake. A little blood orange sauce on the side and you're good to go! Enjoy!

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table
toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table
toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table
toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table
toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table
toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake,

  • Use fresh blood oranges when making the sauce, skip the bottled juice!
  • Use unsalted pistachios.
  • If you like, you can serve the orange sauce on the side with the cake versus pouring it over the cake.
toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce (gluten-free)

yields: one 9 inch cake

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (223.25 gm) Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

4 large eggs, cold

1 cup (223.25gm) superfine baking sugar

2 sticks (226gm) unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature + extra butter to grease the pan

1 teaspoon pistachio extract

1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped

1 1/2 cups blood orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch powder

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 350F. Line and grease a 9 inch baking pan with a little butter. 

2. Dry whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and keep aside until ready to use. 

3. Beat the eggs and 1 cup of sugar using the paddle attachment in the bowl of a standmixer at medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes until the eggs are pale yellow. Add the butter and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed until completely creamed. Add the pistachio extract and whisk for 10 seconds. Then stop the mixer and add half of the whisked dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until just combined, add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until combined. 

4. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the greased baking pan. Pour the cake batter over the pistachios in the pan and bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes rotating halfway through the baking process, until the center of the cake is firm to touch and springs back (or until a skewer comes out clean from the center of the cake when inserted). Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before releasing it from the pan. Flip the cake over a serving dish/cake stand. 

5. While the cake is cooling on the wire rack, prepare the blood orange sauce. Whisk the orange juice, sugar and cornstarch in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Heat on medium-high heat until it begins to thicken like a custard, this should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool completely before serving. Drizzle the cake with the blood orange sauce before serving or serve the sauce on the side. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.