Semifreddo refers to any number of “semi-frozen” desserts, often with a custard base. This version has a dairy-free custard made with coconut milk, and I used coconut sugar to add a caramel-type flavor to the finished dish. This takes a few steps but it makes an impressive dessert for a summer party on the deck, and it goes from cold and slightly crunchy to cool and creamy as you nibble your way through a slice.
The custard itself is lightly sweet, and for texture and flavor I added a pecan-coconut brickle topping that adds another layer of sweetness and crunch. You can use fresh or frozen whole raspberries for this, and you will want to prep it the day before you serve it, so it has time to freeze overnight. I lined a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap to make it easier to unmold the dessert, and dipped the pan into hot water, dried the outside of the pan, and then inverted the dessert onto a serving plate. Peel off the plastic wrap, and you are ready to go. Here is what it looks like coming out of the freezer:
- ½ cup pecan halves
- ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter)
- 1 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk (full fat--light will make the texture very hard)
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- seeds from ½ vanilla bean (or two teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 2 cups whole raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- First, prepare the brickle topping. Place the pecans and coconut in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Place the chopped mixture in a small saucepan with the coconut oil and the tablespoon of coconut sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the nuts just start to smell toasty. Do not brown. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- For the custard, place the coconut milk, cup of coconut sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in a blender. Blend on low to begin, and then blend on high until very smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it just starts to thicken. Do not let the mixture boil. After it begins to thicken, turn off the heat and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes. Let the custard cool completely.
- Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a little hanging over the edges to make it easier to remove the dessert. Add the raspberries to the pan, and then pour in the cooled custard. Shake the pan a bit to fill in any air gaps. Top with the cooled brickle, then place in the freezer to freeze overnight.
- To unmold, dip the pan in a bowl of hot water, then dry the sides off well before inverting onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Use a serrated knife that you have dipped into hot water to cut slices for serving.
And as it gets a little melty…
Any leftovers will store well, just wrap in plastic and place in the freezer. As always, I prefer my desserts on the less-sweet side, and freezing blunts all flavors. If you are fan of sweeter desserts, increase the coconut sugar by a quarter of a cup.
Thanks for reading,