Lemon semifreddo with basil-strawberries sauce.

At last, I smell summertime in the air-- the rose bushes are blooming; short sleeve and flip-flops are back! My friend Martha's lemon tree is blooming and is loaded down, under the weight of soooooo many lemons. Well, the good new is that I have tons of lemons too ;)

I love lemons. I use lots of lemons in the kitchen, for everything! Last Sunday I used some for a beautiful semifreddo. I hope Martha and her family enjoyed it!

Semifreddo is one of those Italian words that doesn't have a translation in English: it's a nice, ethereal, frozen mousse. If you never tried one, well, I think you should start with the best and make this one. It sounds complicated, but it's easier and quicker than a "Tiramis├╣" and takes advantage of this wonderful season, and Italian cooking is all about being in tune with the seasons.

Lemons' semifreddo with meringue and basil-strawberries sauce.

For the basic custard:

-5 egg-yolks
-1/2 cup of sugar
-1/2 cup of warm milk
-1/4 cup of lemon juice
-zest of 2 lemons
-2 cups of heavy cream
-6 store bought vanilla meringues
Spray a metal loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Line the pan with enough plastic wrap to cover the top after the pan has been filled. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add the milk first and then the lemon juice and cook for 3mins at medium-high level.
Let cool it down a bit and add the lemon zest. Whip the cream and gently -with a rubber spatula- fold the cream in with the egg custard. Crush the meringues on the bottom of the loaf pan and then spoon in the mixture. Cover with the plastic wrap and freeze overnight (or up to 4/5 weeks).
For the basil and strawberries sauce:
-2 cups of fresh diced strawberries
-1/2 cup of water
-1/2 cup of sugar
-4 or 5 basil leaves
In a pan, combine the water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and add the basil leaves and let the syrup cool down. Add the strawberries and let sit overnight.
To serve:
Unfold the plastic wrap. Invert the semifreddo onto a cutting board; the crushed meringues will be on top. Remove the plastic wrap. Cut the semifreddo into slices (the thickness is up to you ;)). Place on individual serving plates and top each slice with the strawberry sauce and a fresh basil leaf.


thoga00 said...

I like lemons for making limoncello, the basil I leave for the pesto. It sounds nice though but I can't see me trying this one out myself. I'm just not that adventurous, plus I don't like making sweets. Do you have a recipe for a Strawberry Basil Pesto?

Cinzia said...


Cinzia said...

Don't make sweets then...
But it's not an adventurous thing, just creative ;)
Strawberry- basil pesto? I'm not THAT creative, sorry.

thoga00 said...

You are right, I probably shouldn't eat sweets in the first place, but then again I should be eating half of the things that I do eat anyways...