Half of this heavenly monster sits in my freezer right now, waiting like a cool semifreddonkenstein (half frozen, half… not.. frozen). It’s pale yellow exterior concealing the deep wallop of Meyer lemon and Nova Scotian wildflower honey it holds within, waiting to be pared down, slice by slice, into moments of time that melt at exactly the right speed into creamy halos on your plate or tongue. Or eaten standing up in front of the freezer by the feathered and chilly forkful, in one’s pajamas, like yrs truly. At any rate, nothing will stop the powers of semifreddonkenstein!
Admittedly, I would never personify the remaining semifredo as a (delicious) monster if this past week hadn’t happened. It all started when my sister and her kids visited last weekend and I folded together a mountain of lemony-floof into a frozen cake for the occasion. C’est normal, the kids ate dirt together, the adults had kale and roast chicken, it was lovely as bunnies and dessert went down a treat with some lightly sweetened berries and homemade strawberry sodas.
And then… the stomach bug arrived with it’s little bug fingers. Without getting very far into the details of that, the whole family got it and the whole family survived (incredibly). And I handled a new level of challenge as a parent, holding my tiny Muffin as he slept through the worst of it and kept his spirits if not dry, then at least buoyant. We bonded. Sick kids are nice to cuddle. I realized there was an even broader range of things that don’t gross me out about my own offspring. And I’m really, really, glad we’re through the woods. SO GLAD.Four enormous loads of surprisingly gratifying laundry later, and after many, many bowls of pho and miso soup and instant ramen (and more tonight), I can finally look at the remaining half of this lemon-thing with renewed appetite, and appreciation for it’s staying power. I can wait for you, my lovely. You can wait for me. And we’ll all melt together by the big lemon tree*. I’ll take a tiny slice and feel like a normal person again. Like a functioning adult. Just in time for the first day of spring that makes me wish I’d left my coat at home.*I’m finally growing Meyer lemon trees!! Planted eighteen lucky seed-contenders last night. Wish them luck!This is an easy, and elegant dessert for a dinner with guests, one that will keep for days (3 or 4!) well wrapped in the freezer. The honey adds an amazing warm quality that matches really naturally with the mandarin-taste of Meyer lemons, but you can use regular lemon juice too. My Meyers were pucker-y enough on their own, but if you find yours are too sweet, you can add a little straight lemon juice to sour them up.
Meyer Lemon Honey Semifreddo
Adapted from Maria Helm Sinskey via Epicurious
- ½ cup (50 grams) blanched pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1¾ cup (436 grams) chilled heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup (150 grams) + 2 tablespoons (24 grams) white sugar
- ⅓ cup (113 grams) mild high-quality honey
- ½ cup (125 grams) fresh Meyer lemon juice
- 7 egg yolks (140 grams)
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt
- 4 cups fresh berries – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, anything
Line a 9x5x3 loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to make it easier to un-mold later. (It helps to slightly wet the tin with water first, then press the plastic into the corners with a dry pastry brush). Sprinkle the pistachios onto the bottom of the lined tin.
Whip the cream to soft peaks; cover and keep chilled in the fridge.
Mix the honey, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolks together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. With a whisk, stir the mixture until it reaches 170℉ and thickens like a lemon curd (which is exactly what you are making). Pass the curd through a fine mesh strainer, discard the solids, and whip it on high speed until very thick, cool, and double in volume.
In three additions, gently fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture until it is homogenous, deflating it as little as possible. Pour it into the prepared tin, tap it a couple times on the table gently to pop any large air bubbles, and cover the top with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.
To serve, un-mold onto a serving platter. (If your freezer is very cold, let the semifredo warm slightly in the fridge for a few minutes before slicing – mine is not that cold, so I cut it right away). If serving with with berries, toss them in 2 tablespoons of sugar and let them mingle for 20 minutes and up to 3 hours before using them.