Semifreddo al Mascarpone con Ciliege (Mascarpone iced cream with cherries)

Here’s yet another recipe from the increasingly overused The New Regional Italian Cuisine.

The idea of Italian desserts seem so cruel to me. It’s not enough to offer a primo, and then a secondo, both likely quite filling and quite delicious.

No, no. In order to complete a full Italian meal, and shift it’s classification from dinner into an outright feast, they offer such things as frozen, sweetened mascarpone cheese mixed with Amaretto cookie crumbs, and topped with cherries maserated in wine and vinegar. It’s desserts such as the one written below that push Italian cuisine from amazing into downright decadent.

Desserts such as these also help provide evidence as to how your favorite Italian restaurant looks upon the dessert option. This is what you’re missing if your go to Italian restaurant only serves Tiramisu or gelato.

The dish is easier than it looks at first glance. It is only complicated by the time one must wait, and not much more.

Amarettini can be found at some Italian grocers. Biscotti could easily be used as a replacement.

  • 7 oz. Amarettini
  • 6 Tbsp. Espresso Coffee, chilled
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 16 oz. Mascarpone, warmed to room temp.
  • 1 lb. cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • Cocoa powder and powdered sugar, for dusting

Place the Amarettini in a small plastic bag and crush with rolling pin until the crumbs are medium-coarse. Pour into a small bowl, and mix in with the espresso coffee. Set aside.

Separate the eggs, whites in one bowl, yolks in another. In the bowl with the yolks, beat in with the sugar and vanilla sugar. Fold in mascarpone as well as the crushed amarettini until both are fully incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until thick and stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites delicately into the mascarpone mixture. Pour this mixture into a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Place in the freezer and allow to chill for at least five hours.

Two hours before serving, place the wine, balsamic vinegar, and honey into a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil. Cook between 7-10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce is thickened. Lower the heat to medium low and add the cherries. Simmer for three to four minutes. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until time to serve.

To serve, spoon cherries and sauce onto a plate. Either scoop the frozen mascarpone or slice, and place it onto the plate as well. Top with a dusting of cocoa and powdered sugar.

Serves 6-8