sweet corn semifreddo with berry compote

semifreddo, the most perfect of desserts. it's deceptively complicated sounding - and is actually incredibly simple to make. this dessert is, in essence, a whipped cream and frothy yolks folded together with a flavoring and then frozen semi-solid. (in fact, in italian, semifreddo means half-frozen). the fun comes in the fact that this takes flavors incredibly well and we're able to extract and infuse this with the flavor of fresh corn kernels by pureeing them and then straining the liquid. It's this liquid, the corn juice, that we add to the semifreddo for flavor. 

when it comes to berry compote - i'm a classicist. a purist. berries with some sugar and lemon juice. heated till boiling. you don't need anything else because the classic is already perfect and anything else detracts from it. 

I did this recipe for my dinner party out in denver last week. the fantastic thing about it is that it's a make ahead by necessity - so I made it on thursday night and brought it out for friday's party, all ready and perfectly frozen to go. the key to constructing a successful dinner party is knowing how to prep - what can you make in advance and what do you have to do that day? I recommend writing each step out and ignoring complete recipes. You can do certain steps. You can pre-cut veggies. You can make broths and soups and stocks the night before. Most soups and non-leaf salads get better with a day to allow flavors to meld. Get a notebook and write your attack plan down. Mental mise en place.


sweet corn semifreddo

100 grams heavy cream
100 grams granulated sugar
100 grams water
3 ears fresh corn
6 egg yolks
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

whip cream until it forms soft peaks. set aside. in a mixing bowl, add yolks and cream of tartar. 

cut the kernels off of the corncobs. place in a food processor and puree until mostly smooth. drain through a chinois or cheesecloth and save the liquid. 

in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add sugar to water and, using a candy thermometer, watch until it reaches 230 degrees. do not stir. once it hits 230, begin whipping egg yolks. at 240, remove the sugar water and slowly (very slowly) add in a thin stream to the egg yolks. allow to mix until pale yellow and ribboning when you dip a spoon in. 

remove the eggs. gently fold in the whipped cream and the corn liquid. pour into greased dishes (if you plan to turn it out) or directly into serving dishes. freeze 24 hours.

berry compote

1/2 lb mixed berries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

combine all in a small saucepan. bring to a boil, reduce and simmer 5-7 minutes. remove and cool. spoon over top of semifreddo. serve.