Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Strawberry Vanilla Semifreddo

Desserts from Issue 7 – Summer 2015 – Spectrum

Her official title (really) was chief mistress to Louis XV, but in 18th- century France, Madame de Pompadour, was more cultural influencer than mere plaything. The champion of Rococo style was rarely seen without her signature rose accessories (depictions of her were to feature it prominently), so much so that the shade would come to be known as Pompadour Pink. No doubt our swirling strawberry semifreddo in a similar hue would have passed muster with the Madame.

serves 1 quart

  • 1 lb strawberries, chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups very cold heavy cream

  • 1

    Simmer strawberries, vanilla bean seeds, scraped vanilla bean, lemon juice, and ½ cup sugar in a medium saucepan until liquid is just syrupy, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely. Discard vanilla bean.

  • 2

    Using a double boiler (or metal bowl over a saucepan with an inch of simmering water beneath), vigorously whisk yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir until cool.

  • 3

    Whip cream until it holds soft peaks. Fold one third of cream into the egg mixture to lighten. Fold in strawberries, then fold in remaining cream.

  • 4

    Pour into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.