Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Because I created this recipe a few days before this year's Ferragosto holiday and because it's a bit unusual, I am calling it Ferragosto surprise. And yes, Italian readers, you'd better look away again as it's certainly not traditional and mixes sweet and savoury ingredients [which you say you never do but I know differently!]

Ever since I read that an ice cream maker was using Himalayan pink salt in a creation for last month's ice cream festival in Catania, I've wanted to use it myself in an ice cream or semifreddo. [Himalayan pink salt is very popular here, particularly in restaurants.]  I was wondering what other ingredients I could use in such a recipe  and how I could serve it when I saw these tiny peppers in the supermarket. [If you can't find mini-peppers, you could just cut interesting shapes from a large one and serve the semifreddo on top.]   The gelato became a semifreddo as it is much easier to make. It also behaves better!

This is what I did:

Ferragosto surprise

3 eggs, separated
100 gr sugar
200 ml whipping cream [panna da montare if you are in Italy]
250 gr mascarpone
10 grinds Himalayan pink salt
Half a red pepper, finely chopped
about 12 mini-peppers

Line an ice cream container with clingfilm, leaving an overlap.
Whip the egg yolks with the sugar and set aside.
In another bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.
In a third bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks.
Combine the three mixtures in the largest bowl, add the mascarpone, chopped pepper and Himalayan salt and mix well with a metal spoon.
Scoop into the lined container, bring the overlap up to cover, put the lid on and freeze overnight.
When you are almost ready to serve, make a cut in the mini-peppers as though to halve them, but don't cut right through. Leave the stems on so that people can use them to pick the peppers up.  Use a teaspoon to fill the peppers with the semifreddo and close them a little,  Once filled, they will "hold" in a container in the fridge for an hour or two.

I nearly decorated with some basil leaves but remembered that Chef Carlo Cracco would say that if an ingredient isn't an integral part of the recipe, you shouldn't use it as a garnish. I think it's good advice.  If I could have got a few whole flakes of the salt out of the grinder to garnish, I would have done so, but it didn't seem worth breaking the grinder to do it. Anyway, decorate as you like!

These quantities will make more than you need for filling the peppers but you can refreeze the rest.

Buon appetito.


Liz Hinds said...

No, sorry, I can't somehow imagine that! Did they taste nice?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...



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