Fes­tive Freddo!

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

WELL then, here we go. The tum­ble to­wards Christ­mas be­gins, with its blend of twinkly lights, fra­grant trees, over­heated shops, non-stop Cliff Richard and mil­i­tary-style cam­paigns at the su­per­mar­ket.

Where I can smugly sit by, pat­ting my pile of al­ready-wrapped Christ­mas presents, I re­alise that for some of you, es­pe­cially those with fam­i­lies, time may be a lit­tle tighter and any short­cuts that can be made in the next few weeks will be gladly taken.

So for the next few Fri­day pieces I’ll be giv­ing you a few ideas for recipes that can be made well in ad­vance and for­got­ten about while you get down to all the im­por­tant stuff like late-night shop­ping and or­gan­is­ing the in-laws.

This week, we be­gin with a ter­rific choco­late dessert that you can make to­mor­row, pop in the freezer and un­veil 20 min­utes be­fore you eat it.

It’s a vari­a­tion of the clas­sic Ital­ian semifreddo.

A rich, meringue-based frozen par­fait that has a de­light­ful dense, smooth tex­ture, half­way be­tween a mousse and an ice-cream, which, as the name im­plies, is at its best when served when just start­ing to de­frost, so it’s still ice-cold, but smooth and creamy and spoon­able.

My ver­sion crosses the Alps to the Black For­est, to take in the in­flu­ence of Ger­many’s clas­sic Sch­warzwalder Kirschtorte.

This bril­liant cake is one we’re all fa­mil­iar with – lay­ers of rich choco­late sponge, whipped cream and cher­ries; a more har­mo­nious com­bi­na­tion you’d be hard pressed to find.

So my semifreddo is a creamy choco­late mousse set on a crunchy base made with choco­late wafers and di­ges­tive bis­cuit, with a hid­den layer of cherry jam, and we serve the dish in gen­er­ous wedges with noth­ing more com­pli­cated than a dol­lop of whipped cream, some choco­late shav­ings and some pre­served cher­ries.

These spe­cial Amarena cher­ries are my ab­so­lute favourites, small and sweet, but with a hint of tart­ness that stops them be­ing cloy­ing, and they sit in a clear deep pur­ple syrup that’s the only sauce you need to fin­ish off this dish in style.

They’re read­ily avail­able in many su­per­mar­kets and deli-type shops, or on­line, and I im­plore you to try and find them – look for the pretty blue and white flow­ery jars and the name Fab­bri, the pro­duc­ers of the best ones.

Other­wise, tinned cher­ries or even a home-made com­pote will be fine.

But as you’ll see, the cru­cial thing here is the ease of serv­ing – you’ll have an easy, sim­ple al­ter­na­tive to Christ­mas Pud­ding (I’ll be­lay my con­fu­sion here at why any­one doesn’t like Xmas Pud!) that can be made in an hour, and wrapped up tightly in the freezer, ready to be de­frosted as you clear away the turkey plates.

It’s a real time-saver, and ut­terly lux­u­ri­ous.

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