Grilled dessert to bring some chill to summer
Grilled strawberries. Really.
Like strawberries and cream? Then you’ll think this Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo is a gift straight from heaven.
Necessity has always been the mother of invention. A few weeks ago, I was in need of a WOW dessert for my grilling class and was leaning hard toward something cold. After all, it would be outside, midday, by a hot grill, with temps close to breaking records.
Ice cream? Hmm. Cold. Grill-able. Wow-able. At least that’s where I started and it was amazingly good with grilled strawberries, but not ideal for recreating the recipes at home if they had no ice cream maker.
Enter the semifreddo. Gloriously creamy, splendidly easy, semifreddo. This special Italian dessert meaning, “half cold” or “half frozen,” is similar to ice cream—creamy, luxurious, and no special equipment required.
And because it makes my heart happy when we enjoy good food together, I’ll let you in my secret ingredient …
Natural Aged Strawberry Balsamic Condimento from Venice Olive Oil Company. However, if you cannot find Strawberry Balsamic, not to worry, you can use traditional 18 year aged balsamic instead. Either balsamic will intensify the strawberry flavor and elevate your Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo to a WOW dessert, though I do think the strawberry makes it extra special. (There was no offer of free products or other compensation to mention this brand, I simply love their product and use it.)
Everyone loved it at the grilling class, and I think you will too. Happy summer grilling and chilling!
Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo with Pistachios & Balsamic
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8-10
- Category: Dessert, Fruit
- 1/2 pound fresh strawberries — large strawberries, halved; small left whole (1 1/2 cups); stems removed
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1/2 cup honey (divided) — plus 2 teaspoon for grilling
- 3 large egg yolks plus 1 large egg
- pinch sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream — chilled
- 2 teaspoons strawberry balsamic — or traditional 18 year
- For the Sauce & Serving:
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries — large strawberries, halved; small left whole (4 cups); stems removed
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 tablespoons honey — plus 2 teaspoon for grilling
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios — crushed into coarse pieces
- Strawberry or Traditional 18 year Balsamic — for serving
- Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap so the wrap hangs out of the pan by 6 or 8 inches (this will fold over the top). Chill the large mixing bowl and beaters you will use to whip the cream.
- Heat a grill on high until it reaches 300°F. While the grill is heating, mix 2 teaspoon of oil with 1-2 teaspoons of honey (it will be thick) and brush it on the 1/2 pound of strawberries. Grill the berries on high for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until the berries soften and grill marks are present. Transfer to a bowl with 1/4 cup of the honey and smash berries so the pieces are no larger than a dime. Set aside.
- Choose a medium stainless-steel or glass bowl (stainless-steal is best) that can rest just inside a medium saucepan. Pour enough water in the saucepan to measure about an inch from the bottom and bring to a gentle simmer. In a bowl large enough to hold the medium bowl, fill halfway with ice and water; set aside (this will help cool the mixture quickly).
- In the medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, and the remaining 1/4 cup honey until well combined and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved strawberry mixture and pinch of salt; whisk again to combine. Set the bowl over the saucepan (it shouldn’t touch the water) and gently whisk until the mixture is thick 4-6 minutes. Stir in balsamic and set the bowl in the ice water (the rim should be above the water so none splashes in) and stir occasionally until cool, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the cream in the chilled mixing bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high speed (or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), to medium peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until just combined and some streaks remain, then pour into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the top and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, crush hulled pistachios in a mortar & pestle or on a cutting board with a heavy skillet into coarse pieces. Set aside. (This can be done in advance.)
- For the Sauce and Serving:
- When ready to serve, heat a grill on high until it reaches at least 300°F. While the grill is heating, mix 2 teaspoon of oil with 2 teaspoons of honey (it will be thick) and brush it on the 1-1/2 pound of strawberries. Grill the berries on high for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until the berries soften and grill marks are present. Transfer to a shallow bowl and using a sharp knife, slice through the larger berries to create bite-size pieces.
- Toss the grilled strawberries with the 2-3 tablespoons honey and Grand Marnier (if using) to taste. Let sit until the berries release some of their juices, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the semifreddo from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Unfold the plastic wrap over the top and invert onto a cutting board; remove the rest of the plastic, and slice.
- Top each slice with strawberries and sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Drizzle with balsamic and serve.
The strawberries will grill directly on the grates so long as they are big enough, so leave small berries whole and only halve larger berries so they don’t slip through. Semifreddo requires 6 hours or more in the freezer before serving.