Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vanilla Semifreddo with Rhubarb Compote

Think of this dessert as a luscious cake slice of vanilla ice cream covered in a rhubarb jam. The texture of the semifreddo is incredibly smooth with a rich flavor of vanilla. The rhubarb compote could easily be substitute for any other fruit compote, but the tartness lends a nice contrast to the richness of the semifreddo. The compote would also be great over regular ice cream or maybe even with yogurt for breakfast. This recipe does require a bit of washing of the mixing bowl, but the results are worth it and the stand mixer does do most of the work.

One year ago: Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops
Two years ago: Roast Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes
Four years ago: Lentil, Goat Cheese and Asparagus Salad

Vanilla Semifreddo with Rhubarb Compote (from Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
1 tbsp flavorless oil
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
3 extra-large eggs, separated (I used large)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided

1. Lightly oil 9" round cake pan and line with plastic wrap letting wrap hang over the sides.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip cream at medium until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl, cover, and chill. Wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk.
3. Split vanilla bean and using a paring knife, scrape seeds and pulp into mixing bowl. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup sugar. Mix at high speed with whisk until doubled in volume, thick, and light-colored, ~3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk.
4. Whip egg whites at medium speed with whisk attachment for about 1 minute, until frothy. Turn speed to high and slowly pour in remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Whip on high until stiff peaks have formed, ~4 minutes.
5. Fold whipped cream into egg yolk mixture.
6. Fold egg white mixture into yolk and cream about 1/3 at a time.
7. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and tap on counter 3 times. Cover with plastic wrap.
8. Place in freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours.
9. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Serve in slices with rhubarb compote above and below.

Rhubarb Compote
1 lb rhubarb
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 tsp cornstarch

1. Cut rhubarb stalks in half lengthwise and slice crosswise into 1/2" pieces.
2. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise and using a paring knife, scrape seeds and pulp into a medium pan.
3. Add vanilla pod, sugar, and 2 tbsp water to pan.
4. Without stirring, bring ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 8 minutes, swirling the pan once in a while until you have a deep golden brown caramel.
5. Add half of the rhubarb and the wine to the caramel. DON'T PANIC when the caramel seizes.
6. Turn the heat down to medium and stir with a wooden spoon breaking up the rhubarb until it's jammy.
7. Stir in rest of rhubarb and 1/2 cup water. Cook a few minutes until additional rhubarb is tender but not mushy.
8. Strain rhubarb over a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
9. Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp water with cornstarch and whisk into liquid. Let it come to a boil and stir over medium heat until liquid is shiny and thickened.
10. Pour liquid back into the bowl and stir in rhubarb. Chill before serving.

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