Semifreddo is an Italian dessert that means half-frozen and is somewhere between ice cream and a mousse. It's the perfect light, refreshing summer dessert, especially because you can make it 2 or 3 days ahead of time. This semifreddo is filled with summer peaches and, if you want an extra special treat, drizzle some dulche de leche over the top.
- 1 pound (about 4) ripe peaches, peeled and diced (when I find them, I love using white peaches)
- 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (you can add 1 extra teaspoon of vanilla extract, or scrape the inside of 1 vanilla bean)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting excess drape over the sides. Carefully smooth out the bottom and the sides as much as possible.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until stiff peaks have formed. Transfer to another bowl and chill.
Clean the bowl and whisk attachment. Add the egg yolks, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup sugar. Beat on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Clean the bowl and whisk attachment. Add the egg whites and mix on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minutes. Increase speed to high. Slowly add sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks have formed, about 4 minutes.
Fold the chilled whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in the egg whites, a third at a time. Before folding in the last third, add the diced peaches. Continue mixing until all of the egg whites are incorporated into the mix, but be careful not to deflate the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Spread evenly with a spatula, and cover with another piece of plastic wrap, smoothing out any wrinkles with your hands. Tuck excess plastic wrap over the top. Freeze until firm, at least 8 hours but preferably overnight (and up to a week).
To serve, invert semifreddo onto a serving platter and remove pan and plastic wrap. Let stand 10 - 15 minutes at room temperature to soften. Smooth top and sides with a warm knife if needed. Slice and serve with fresh peaches and shortbread cookie crumbles. (You can also scoop semifreddo like ice cream, if desired.)
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Luques by Suzanne Goin