it's hot today. eighty degrees and the windows are open and the sun beats down and even the cats are sweating. the humidity i felt out walking around atlantic avenue is still sticking to me like a bad date.
green tea. i remember the first time i'd ever eaten green tea ice cream, sitting at a table where my legs didn't reach the floor. it was such a revelation, like mint but not mint, more delicate somehow and sweeter. i was rapturous about it and searched like crazy for a pint of green tea ice cream in every store i could find. no dice. not fifteen years ago (although now haagen dazs has a pint of it and it's so, so good.)
so naturally, when i got this wild, impulsive need to make semifreddo to help deal with this (still may, oh dear) weather, green tea jumped straight to my mind.
so, what is green tea? here, we're using culinary-grade matcha, which is a special type of green tea, grown and ground superfine. matcha has an extremely short and rigorous growing period, lasting no more than 20 days and constantly shade-grown in order to stimulate chlorophyll (that bright, beautiful green color) and amino acids, which provide that unique, cooling flavor and intense sweetness.
semifreddo, which we'll flavor with matcha, comes from an entirely different part of the world. semifreddo means half-cold in italian, where this dessert of half-whipped-cream and half-meringue comes from. it's frozen until light and icy and solid, the texture of the cream and meringue giving a unique light and airy texture and structure to the dessert.
black sesame streusel
1/4 cup black sesame seeds, whole
1/4 cup black sesame seeds, ground
1.5 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp light brown sugar
combine all, with your fingers, until thoroughly mixed.
200 g heavy cream
150 g sugar
200 g water
pinch of salt
3 egg whites + 1 yolk
1 tbsp matcha powder, culinary grade dissolved into 1.5 tbsp water
in a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. allow to simmer for ten minutes or until reduced by half.
Meanwhile, in a mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt on high speed until soft peaks are formed. while beating on medium speed, slowly pour the simple syrup in until you achieve glossy stiff peaks. set aside.
in a metal bowl, over a water bath whisk the egg yolk until light and frothy and it registers 170 degrees.
in a mixer, beat the cream on medium to medium high until expanded and firm but not stiff peaks are formed.
slowly fold together the meringue (whipped egg whites), whipped yolk, dissolved matcha and whipped cream until evenly distributed. spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. put half of the mixture in. layer thickly with black sesame streusel. add remaining matcha mixture. top with remainder of streusel.
place in freezer and freeze for 24 hours. to serve, turn out onto plate and slice.