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Cakes and Loaves, Sweet

Cake to cheer up: Strawberry Orange Semifreddo

I’m planning to post a recipe today. This means – sorry, dear readers – that before it you’ll have to put up with a little gloom. I’ll be quick, I promise: I just got to get this off my chest before going to bed (to write my end-of-term scriptwriting project, of course – who ever mentioned sleep?).

I’m just, once again, disappointed by how my brain works. You know when a child spends hours on a drawing, and then hands it to you as if it was the most beautiful and meaningful thing in the world – and you cannot even fake a smile, as all you see is a disorderly maze of nonsensical lines? Well, tonight I feel as if I was the child. And no, taking a breath and repeating myself “You’re 23 and a master student, you should have quit feeling like this when you left middle school” isn’t of any help.

My adulthood equivalent of the drawing is the presentation I gave tonight for my business module at university: such a ridiculous thing that no one will ever convince me to speak in public again – not even if any unforeseen event leads me to fame, in which case I’ll just pay a stunt. No point in talking about it, anyway – I just wanted to put down in words this recurring thought I have about how my brain works. About how annoying it is to be such a perfectionist not to tolerate that anything that comes from me is less than flawless, and to be so presumptuous not to accept that what presents itself to my mind like a brilliant idea might prove to be irrealistic, or worse, weak – or worse again, silly.

It’s not that I lack ideas: I just have too many, and they all sound too good to be true. You, the normal people who are used to seeing the big picture rather than getting attached to unimportant details and inconsistent hopes, can spot unlikelihood since the beginning; I can’t. Maybe it’s true, like my father says, that I’m an idealist. Or maybe I’m a utopist, not sure how that’s actually different.

Forget it. Just give me sun, a fresh drink and a slice of cake, and I’ll be the happiest person ever. Well actually, it’s as cold as in February, and I should take a healthy break from sugar; do you mind enjoying some for me?

Strawberry Orange Semifreddo

(serves 8)

This is the first dessert I made that was both pretty and tasty at the same time, so it means quite a lot to me. So much that I put it on my Powerpoint presentation’s first page, as the logo of my crappy made-up cookery school, perhaps hoping for a good omen. Well, what is it that they say? Better luck next time? Sure. Now eat.

Prepare the crust:

  • Melt 1 egg yolk and 30g brown sugar in a double saucepan, whipping until they become very soft.
  • Remove from the hob and continue whipping, until the melt has cooled down.
  • Add 30g flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil and some lemon juice.
  • Spread the crust dough evenly in a cake mould.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 190°, then bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove from the mould and set aside to cool down.
  • Finally, put the crust back in the mould, which in the meantime you will have lined with cling film. If you want you can put some strawberries on the bottom, as a filling for your semifreddo.

Prepare the cream.

  • Leave 8g gelatine leaves soaking in cold water for 10 minutes.
  • While you wait, mix 250g ricotta cheese with 125g low-fat natural yogurt, 50g honey and 1 tablespoon orange zest, until you obtain a soft batter.
  • Warm up the juice of one orange in a saucepan, then melt the squeezed gelatin into it and add to the batter.
  • Finally, add 2 beaten egg whites as well.
  • Pour the batter on the crust and put the semifreddo into the fridge, where you will leave it for at least 6 hours.
  • When ready, take your semifreddo out of the mould, using the cling film to help you lift it. Decorate with fresh strawberries on top.
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