White Chocolate Semifreddo with Pistachios and Rose Syrup
Every great meal needs a proper sending off and this semifreddo is the perfect dessert for doing just that. It’s made with white chocolate and is infused with the delicate heady flavour of cardamom. There are also buttery, roasted pistachios folded in there for crunch and it’s finished with a rose syrup for serving. This will need to be made the night before your romantic dinner party, which is kind of great because it means you can whip it out of the freezer, scatter over some pomegranate arils and raspberries and drizzle over the syrup and hey presto! it’s done. Couldn’t be simpler or more delicious.
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus 8 hours to overnight freezing time
Cooking time: 45 minutes
½ C (125 ml) castor sugar
½ C (125 ml) water
rosewater, to taste
zest and juice of 1 lime, to taste
1 ½ C (375 ml) whipping cream
2 tsp (10 ml) cardamom pods, crushed
1 C (250 ml) raw, shelled pistachios, plus extra to garnish
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
pinch of salt
170 g good quality white chocolate, chopped
⅓ C (80 ml) caster sugar
raspberries and pomegranate arils, for garnish
Combine the castor sugar and water together in a saucepan and place over a low heat. Gently stir to dissolve the sugar, ensuring that no sugar particles stick to the side of the pan. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to bring the syrup to the boil, then boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow the bubbling to stop and then add a touch of rosewater and lime juice. Start with about a teaspoonful of rosewater and about a teaspoonful of the lime juice. Once the syrup has cooled, you can taste it and adjust the flavour. You want the floral rosy flavour to come through, but you don’t want it to be overpowering, hence the addition of the lime, to keep it balanced.
Preheat the oven 180 ºC.
Line a metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 5 cm overhang on the ends, and chill in freezer.
Place the cream and the crushed cardamom pods in a small bowl and leave to infuse while you get on with the rest of the semifreddo.
Place the pistachios in a small roasting tray and toast in the oven for about 5–8 minutes, checking on them after the 5-minute mark. They will become quite fragrant and will be a slightly toasted colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat and toss in the pistachios, along with the pinch of salt. Coat the nuts in the butter for about a minute or two, then remove from the pan and leave to cool completely. Chop roughly.
Carefully melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. When melted, remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
In a separate metal bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar to combine. Set the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and continue to beat until thick and pale and the mixture registers 60 ºC on a sugar thermometer. Continue beating over simmering water for a further 3 minutes, until a thick ribbon forms and holds its shape. Remove from heat and gently fold in the cooled, melted chocolate.
In another bowl, beat the chilled, infused cream until it just holds stiff peaks and then fold into egg mixture gently, ensuring that the two are thoroughly combined. Fold in the cooled pistachios and carefully pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Unmold semifreddo onto a platter, discarding the plastic wrap. Cut into thick slices. Drizzle with the rose syrup and scatter the extra roasted pistachios, raspberries and pomegranate arils on top.