Sunday, March 14, 2010

Istanbul Inspired Raspberry, Pistachio and Rosewater Semifreddo

I am an appalling haggler. While I adore arguing, exchanging ideas, negotiation; haggling I do not care for. Nor am I particularly good at it. I think even the least wiley of traders sense this, being that other people are quoted as an opening offer, a sum lower than the price I manage to clumsily 'negotiate'. I listen with envy as others return from Thailand, Egypt and India laden down with bounties secured for a few shekels. Meanwhile I take cold comfort in my lovely exorbinately priced bowl which (I am assured by the nice hawker I bought it off ) was handmade by nubile young dervishes, hand-whittled to an ancient family design, passed through the generations in a secret scroll buried in a cave. I'd say it was with wistful thoughts of their bottom line that Instanbul's purveyors of lamps, baklava or bowls in the Grand Bazaar bade me farewell.

As ever when travelling, my favourite experiences in Istanbul were food related: endless cups of dark grainy coffee, durum kebabs with meat of questionable origin hastily eaten on the deck of a ferry-boat, corn cobs served from a cart outside the Blue Mosque, doused in mouth puckering table salt after emerging from suspiciously murky water. I was fascinated by the fragrance of the city, how temporal it felt, despite the loom of minerets on the horizon and the pervasive religious observance. The entire city was permeated with the scent of rosewater, and when I returned home (five boxes of rose flavoured turkish delight under arm for which I haggled the vendor's price down to college education for his eldest grandson only) I couldn't stop thinking about using rosewater in cooking.

I have made this semifreddo countless times. It is a Bill Grainger inspired recipe and every time I have make it, I resolve to make it more often. It is one of my favourite deserts not only because of the rich taste and talking point texture (it should be served at the 'melting icecream' stage) but because of the striking  colours. A great Spring desert. I use berries frozen from last season but if you are making this at a time when fresh are available, they work just as well.

6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons Honey
250 ml Cream whipped
1 Tablespoon rose-water
150 g raspberries plus a few extra to serve
3 tablespoons shelled, chopped Pistachios

Grease a 6cm-deep, 19cm x 9cm (base) loaf pan. Line with cling film, allowing a 5cm overhang on both long ends.

Beat the egg yolks and honey together with electric beaters for 10 minutes, or until thick, pale, creamy and doubled in volume. Fold in the whipped cream and rosewater until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, fold the plastic over the top to cover the semifreddo and freeze for 1–2 hours, or until partially frozen. Remove from the freezer and stir through the raspberries and pistachios. Cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer until completely frozen.

Allow to soften for 20 minutes or so in a cool spot or in the fridge before serving. Cut into slices or cubes and top with remaining raspberries and a few crushed pistachios to serve.


Brownieville Girl said...

Oh this looks really fantastic, it's going straight to the top of my "to try" list.

The photos are mouthwatering.

Bionic Laura said...

I love the photos of Istanbul. Fantastic. What a lovely recipe, the colours make it look terribly impressive. I must try it.

Roisin said...

Oh my gosh!! Take me to that spice market!!! And then feed me all the semifreddo you wish :)

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Beautiful that semi-freddo....

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