The traditional pumpkin pie was absent from our dessert table this Thanksgiving. We chose instead to do a Ruby Red Grapefruit Semifreddo, a refreshing dessert that we thought would be the perfect ending, accompanied with a cup of tea, to a meal that had showcased the exquisite flavors and spices of a number of regions of India. It proved to be perfect! Quick and easy to prepare, this dessert is appropriate for enjoyment all through the year when those luscious red fleshed fruit are available in your local market. The rich velvety sauce used to nap and garnish this creamy delicacy was a spontaneous inspiration. We took several ladles of the Cranberry and Plum Chutney, processed it in the food processor until smooth, then pressed it through a fine sieve with the back of a ladle. The resulting sauce was nothing short of exquisite in texture and flavor, a perfect complement to the grapefruit semifreddo. The dessert was garnished with chopped Candied Grapefruit Peel made from the thick peel removed from the fruit at the beginning of prep.
Ruby Red Grapefruit Semifreddo with Cranberry and Plum Sauce
Grate the peel of:
1 ruby red grapefruit
Set the grated peel to the side and reserve. With a sharp chef’s knife, remove the peel, pith included from:
3 large ruby red grapefruit, including the one which had been grated
Chef’s Note: The flesh of each grapefruit should be completely free of any pith and membranous material.
Reserve the peel from the two ungrated grapefruits. With a sharp knife cut the supremes from each of the grapefruit over a medium bowl to collect all of the juices. Do not discard the remaining grapefruit membranes!
When the supreme segments have been removed cut them into pieces into a bowl fitted with a sieve:
Pour the remaining juices through the sieve to catch any remaining pulp. Squeeze the membraneous remains of each grapefruit with your hand to capture all remaining juices.
8 large egg yolks
the reserved ruby red grapefruit juice, approximately 1 to 1-1/4 C
3/4 C granulated sugar
the reserved grated peel
1/4 tsp salt
Whisk to combine and continue whisking until the the egg mixture loses its frothiness and takes on the consistency of a custard, approximately 15 minutes:
Transfer the bowl to an ice water bath and whisk until cold.
Keep the egg mixture in the ice bath and whip the cream. Pour into the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a whip:
3 C heavy whipping cream
Whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form:
Transfer the grapefruit pieces to the chilled egg mixture and stir to combine:
Gently fold in the whipped cream until thoroughly combined:
When smooth and without streaks transfer the mixture to a loaf pan or pate pan lined with film, allowing for a generous overhang on all sides:
Fold the film over the semifreddo misture to completely cover. Wrap the pan in foil and place in the freezer for at least overnight.
Candied Grapefruit Peel
Trim and square the edges of the peel removed from:
2 ruby red grapefruit
Cut into strips, pith and any attached pieces of pulp, 3/8-inch wide and approximately 2 1/2 inches in length.
To remove the bitterness from the peel place them in a medium saucepan covered generously with water:
Bring to a boil over high heat and allow to boil for 1 minutes. Drain the contents through a sieve or collander:
Wash the pan with soap and water to remove any residual bitterness left behind. Repeat the blanching process a second time. Following the second blanching once again wash the pan with soap and water. Return the blanched peel to the pan and add:
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C water
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until the liquid has reduced and is thick and syrupy. With a slotted spoon transfer the grapefruit peel to a foil lined baking pan to which has been added:
3/4 – 1 C granulated sugar
Separate each piece from the others with a fork, tossing them with the sugar to get them well coated. As they cool use your fingers to complete the sugar coating process:
When coated transfer the peel to a plate to completely cool:
When completely cooled the grapefruit strips will be firm to the touch and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not place the container in the refrigerator… this will cause the sugar to get sticky and liquify.
Cranberry and Plum Chutney
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat bring to a boil:
2 C water
2 C dark brown sugar
Stir until sugar dissolves. Add:
1 12-oz pkg fresh cranberries
Lower heat and simmer until the cranberries pop, approximately 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. To a second medium saucepan add:
8 – 10 plums, depending on size, pitted and cut into eighths
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 C plus 2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 C honey
2 generous pinches red pepper flakes
Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to low and cover the pan. Simmer and stir occasionally until the plums begin to soften and break down, approximately 5 – 10 minutes.
Drain the cranberries, retaining 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add the drained cranberries and the reserved 1/2 cup of liquid to the plum mixture. Add:
1 tsp grated orange peel
Stir well to combine then refrigerate. Can be prepared a week or more in advance of service. Serve this chutney as an accompaniment to turkey, roast chicken or pork… or as a velvety dessert sauce when processed according to the directions given earlier!
Be sure to keep this refreshing dessert in mind when your palate craves something not overly sweet, yet abounding in flavor, a dessert that is smooth, cool and creamy. You will, without a doubt, be compelled to lick your plate as the last bite disappears… Bon Appetit!
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