Recipe: Blood Orange Semifreddo

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They may sound like a citrus best suited for suckers, but the deep-crimson-colored flesh of blood oranges is actually the result of young, developing fruit exposed to low nighttime temperatures. The most common variety, Moro, hails originally from the southern Mediterranean but has caught on quickly with growers in our southern states. Metropole pastry chef and recent Florida transplant Suzanne Church whipped up this Blood Orange Semifreddo for a fresh menu change. Finally, a restaurant dessert easy enough to fix at home.

Recipe: Blood Orange Semifreddo

Makes 6-8 Servings

FOR THE CANDIED BLOOD ORANGES:
5 Blood oranges, skin and pith removed, divided into segments
1 ½ cups water
½ cup sugar

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE BASE:
2 ½ ounces cream cheese (softened)
½ cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon
vanilla extract
1/3 cup egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

PREPARATION
1. In an 8-inch saucepan, dissolve sugar in water. Add orange segments to form a single layer, reserving the rest of the segments to serve with the finished semifreddo. Gently simmer until the syrup is reduced to a thin film and the segments have become translucent. Set aside to cool.

2. Line an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan with two layers of plastic wrap long enough to cover the contents. Beat the cream cheese, ¼ cup of sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Using a whisk, mix  of the whipped cream into the cream cheese, so that there are no lumps, then fold in the rest with a silicone spatula. Whip the egg whites and the remaining sugar to stiff glossy peaks and fold into the cream cheese.  

3. Spread ¼ of the cream cheese base in the bottom of the loaf pan. Distribute half the candied blood orange segments. Layer another ¼ of the base and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Add another ¼ of the base plus the remaining candied segments. Finish with the remaining base. Wrap the semifreddo with the lining plastic wrap. Freeze solid, then slice with a hot knife. Remove all plastic wrap, top with fresh blood orange segments. Serve immediately.  

Tip: A perfect slice is best achieved with a hot knife. Run a large chef’s knife under super-hot tap water for 20 seconds. Quickly dry it, then gently slice.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue.

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