Tahini semifreddo is a very unique dessert and not one we find on many American tables. After you try this recipe, you may be CHANGING YOUR MIND. A semifredo is custard meets ice cream meets the intense flavor and texture of a mousse. But what exactly is a SEMIFREDDO and what is its origin? Wikipedia says it is a semi-frozen dessert that usually has a base of eggs, sugar and cream. Wikipedia tries to describe the texture as frozen mousse. THAT’S WHAT I SAID.
The other surprising and somewhat amazing thing about this dessert is its flavor draws from tahini. How can tahini be sweet enough to satisfy your, and for sure, my sweet tooth? Yes it has cream to make it rich but the tahini has a strong flavor. Before I started this series of Michael Solomonov’s Israeli recipes at Zahav, I did not even like tahini all that much. I enjoyed it as a salad dressing and really enjoyed it in this dessert. For me the key to the enjoyment came from letting the dessert thaw just enough to have that creamy texture we like in ice cream so much. Each spoonful of the semifredo started with a sweet taste on my tongue followed by the nutty flavor of the tahini. Now that I write this description, it makes total sense. The dessert enhanced the nuttiness of the tahini creating a traditional flavor in a dessert.
A semifreddo is super easy to put together. The cream is whipped to stiff peaks so it can be folded into the tahini. The one adaptation I would make to this dessert the next time is to add more lemon. The tahini is made from using tahini paste. The paste is then blended with water and lemon. I would leave the base recipe as is for savory recipes but add more lemon for sweet ones. I think the acidity of the extra lemon would balance even better with the nuttiness of the tahini.
The cast of characters.
The eggs & sugar, and then, the whipped cream added.
All ingredients mixed and poured into serving dishes.
The Tahini Semifreddo plated.
- 7 egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup tahini
- Mix the eggs into the sugar in a bowl with a wisk.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks.
- Fold the whipped cream into the egg and sugar mixture.
- Blend in the tahini.
- Put in a freezer safe bowl and freeze overnight.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Take the semifreddo out for a few minutes before serving so it gets a softer texture.