Monday, January 12, 2009

Splendid Table: Espresso and Mascarpone Semi-freddo

What a hit!

I've almost exhausted all the foolproof rustic cakes and tarts in Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Splendid Table, so what to make for a sweet? I was essentially forced to tackle one of the trickier desserts. Because Mark loves anything coffee-flavored, I chose the espresso and mascarpone semi-freddo and when Justine threw a pizza-making birthday party for Michael last night, I contributed semi-freddo.

First of all, it turns out that semi-freddo (at least this one) isn't tricky at all. You make a simple coffee custard that you enrich with mascarpone, then lighten with Italian meringue. The whole operation takes about 20 minutes. Freeze, then thaw just a little before you serve. 

The resulting dessert was like nothing I've ever made before. Like an ambrosial ice cream that generates its own opulent sauce, the icy cold bits cloaked in a velvety cream. 

Worth the price of the book.


  1. mmmm. it was so delicious, and very strong coffee flavor too, which for me is important. I don't like desserts that just vaguely taste like coffee, but i loved this.

  2. Melvil Dewey1/12/09, 2:52 PM

    Semi-freddo sounds like a wrestling maneuver or maybe a character played by John Cazale in The Godfather. It also looks and sounds delicious. I can't wait to try this recipe...perhaps when another coffee-flavored-dessert-loving male relative puts down stakes in Portland this spring.

  3. Melvil, you will love this recipe. It really is all that.

  4. aaaah! I should never read your blog when I'm hungry! I would lie down in the middle of the street for a serving of this dessert right now...

  5. can u email me this recipe possibly? Thanks!