I love creating new things and during the hot summer months, my mind always wanders to cool and refreshing desserts that are easy to put together. My homemade semifreddo recipe is one that I play around with all the time to see how I can push the boundaries of flavor and texture to create some new and different flavor combinations. It is a tried and true recipe that is easy to tweak, and the bounty of delicious fruits available during these hot summer months keep my mind working on how to incorporate some fresh and fruity flavors.
Some of the other semifreddo recipes I’ve made include a brownie ice cream sandwich with rum raisin semifreddo, a vanilla black pepper option, a toffee version, double chocolate and most recently a mocha kahlua version that has become one of my all time favorites….but this time, I was after something else.
After I had made this recipe several times using the standard heavy whipping cream, I began wondering whether adding Greek yogurt instead of the whipped cream would work. This would turn it into a frozen yogurt semifreddo which I had never seen done before, but I was willing to give it a try.
Some Greek yogurts are quite tangy and others aren’t so much. My absolute favorite Greek yogurt was the Fage brand until I discovered the new Cabot Greek yogurt which has been out for several months.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the company…they make all kinds of delicious cheese which I have enjoyed for many years and are based out of Vermont. I can’t tell you enough how wonderful this product truly is, I guarantee that once you have tried it, you won’t go back to anything else. It’s pricey, about $4.99 per container, but so very worth it, especially when I don’t have time to make my own yogurt. I prefer the full fat version, but the reduced fat and fat free versions are equally delicious. This particular brand is not very tart, and worked well for this application. I tweaked the sugar content from my original recipe and must say, the result was truly perfect.
As I began to define how the dessert should come together in my mind, I decided that I wanted a creamy lemon frozen yogurt semifreddo, a blueberry sauce and a buttery crust made from some crushed graham crackers that I would use between the various layers of this parfait.
The blueberries together with lemon are a flavor combination made in heaven, and the creaminess from the addition of the egg yolks makes this frozen yogurt hard to beat. The added zest added another dimension of flavor that helped the lemon flavor and fragrance linger on the palate a little longer. The graham crackers were a welcomed but unexpected contrast to the smooth and creamy frozen yogurt semifreddo. The final result actually tasted like a deconstructed ice cream custard pie. I am so happy that this turned out so well, I know that I will be making these parfaits again and again and again….
Myer Lemon Frozen Yogurt Semifreddo
6 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
Juice of 2 meyer lemons (or 1 large lemon)
Zest of 2 meyer lemons (or 1 large lemon)
2 cups Cabot or Fage brand Greek yogurt
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 recipe blueberry sauce (2 cups fresh/frozen blueberries plus 1/2 cup sugar cooked until thick, then strained or use sauce of your choice)
1 ½ cups ground graham cracker crumbs with ½ stick melted butter, combined and baked for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
First zest the lemon(s), then juice them and set aside.
Add the egg yolks and granulated sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer and whip this well together. Place this over a pot with about 1” of simmering water essentially creating a double boiler and begin whisking this until it becomes thick and pale yellow.
Make sure that this mixture does not get too hot or that the bowl touches the hot water or it will cook the eggs. Whisk this over the simmering water for about 5 minutes or so until it turns a pale yellow and the mixture is warm (not hot) to the touch. At this point add the lemon juice and you will see the mixture thin out as a result. Keep whisking over the simmering water for another few minutes and you will see the mixture thicken slightly again. This is actually the lemon juice cooking the egg yolks which results in the thickening of the mixture again.
Remove the bowl from the pot with water and attach it to the mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk this until completely cool, very pale and thick.
While this is whipping, add the 2 cups of Greek yogurt and the sifted powdered sugar to a medium sized bowl and whisk together.
Once the eggs have cooled add this to the yogurt mixture along with the lemon zest and fold everything in together. Cover this and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. To assemble the parfait, place a little blueberry sauce at the bottom of the glass, then ice cream, then crumbs, then more sauce and repeat until you have reached the top of the glass.