Semifreddo works a treat for any occasion
Here's a nifty little recipe for a fabulous Italian dessert that you can customise to your heart's content. Semifreddo is basically a custard-based ice-cream. The name translates as "half cold" and is usually served after removing from the freezer for a period to allow it to soften a little. There's no reason you couldn't dress this up for a Christmas dessert by varying the flavours; I make mine up to a week in advance and it turns out perfectly every time.
1 punnet strawberries, washed, hulled and diced
1 tsp orange blossom water or rose water
4 tbsp caster sugar, divided
3 large free-range eggs
250ml pure cream
1 tbsp marsala
2 punnets fresh raspberries, divided
100g shelled unsalted pistachios
Cocoa powder, to serve
Place strawberries in a small saucepan with orange blossom or rosewater and one tablespoon of the sugar. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool and puree in a blender or food processor.
Break eggs into a medium bowl and add the remainder of the sugar and the marsala; set over a pan of barely simmering water while beating with a portable electric beater until the ingredients are pale and fluffy and have tripled in volume, about 6-8 minutes.
Beat cream in another bowl until stiff peaks form. Beat mascarpone into cream.
Carefully fold cream mixture into custard mixture, then fold pureed strawberries in.
Pour into a silicon loaf tin and dot top with raspberries; cover with foil and freeze for at least eight hours.
To serve: Remove from freezer 10 minutes before you are serving, then unmould on to a serving plate.
Sift with cocoa and scatter with fresh raspberries and pistachios. Cut into slices and serve immediately.