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!
rhubarb semifreddo (from Yossy's Sweeter off the Vine)
yields: 8 to 10 servings
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.