While on a recent grocery shopping trip, I was wandering up and down the aisles hoping to find some cooking inspiration when I came across a bottle of pomegranate cider. I was intrigued since I’ve really only seen (and made) apple cider so I put that pomegranate cider right in my card. I knew there were so many fun applications for this deep purple drink, such as ice cream and roasted chicken, but I really wanted to think outside of the box on this one. Since there’s a heat wave going on right now, I knew that I wanted to make something that would cool me down. I started with sangria; I mixed sweet white wine, date vodka, pomegranate juice, strawberries, blueberries and pomegranate seeds…but I drank it all before I could take pictures. So then the back and forth began: semifreddo or gelato? gelato or semifreddo? I asked my Facebook friends and the overwhelming response was to make a semifreddo. No problem!
adapted from bonappetit.com
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 cup pomegranate jelly (recipe below)
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
2 cups pomegranate cider (or juice)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp corn starch, optional
I made the pomegranate juice so it would have time to cool. I combined the cider, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat. I lowered the heat to medium-low and simmered the sauce until it reduced to around 1 cup. If you want your sauce to be even thicker, stir together some of the sauce with the corn starch then add this corn starch mixture back into the simmering sauce. It will thicken up very nicely.
While the pomegranate sauce cooled, I set a small saucepan of water over low heat and brought it to a simmer. I whisked the egg whites, the sugar and a pinch of salt in a heat proof bowl (I used the metal bowl of my stand mixer) then placed the bowl on top of the simmering water and whisked constantly until the sugar was dissolved, around 4 minutes. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water! You want to heat up the egg mixture slowly over the steam from the water but if the water touches the bowl, it will cook the eggs. The best way to tell when it’s done is to pinch the mixture with your fingers to feel if there is are any sugar granules left. The mixture should be warm.
I removed the bowl from the saucepan, added the vanilla, placed the bowl in my stand mixer and whisked on high speed until the egg white mixture tripled in volume and cooled down completely, around 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl with a clean whisk, I whipped the cream until soft peaks formed. Make sure not to whip the cream too far or it will be too fluffy for the semifreddo. Trust me! I made that mistake the first time. My semifreddo was basically just delicious whipped cream. I folded the whipped cream into the whipped egg whites then carefully folded in the pomegranate sauce.
I coated a loaf pan with nonstick spray then lined it with plastic wrap, leaving overhang on all sides. I transfered the whipped mixture into the loaf pan and smoothed the top. I folded the plastic wrap over the top and froze the semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.
8 hours later, I was ready to dig in to the semifreddo! I unwrapped the top of the loaf pan and lifted the semifreddo gently. I inverted it onto a platter, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and sliced myself the perfect bite!