Brad Spence's Salted Butter Semifreddo

By • July 30, 2013 32 Comments

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Author Notes: This is an anytime, any season pantry frozen treat -- no ice cream machine required. Spence serves it year-round at Amis in Philadelphia, on blueberry tarts and in hot fudge sundaes, over spiced pound cake and yeasted waffles, and blended into maple milkshakes. Adapted from Amis Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA. Note: The eggs in this recipe aren't cooked. Just buy them from a trustworthy source -- Spence's come from Green Meadow Farm in Gap, PA -- or you can use pasteurized eggs. Genius Recipes

Serves 6 to 8

  • 8 egg yolks + 4 egg whites, divided (save remaining 4 egg whites for another use)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (175 grams)
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chocolate wafers, for serving (optional)
  • Jam, for serving (optional)
  1. Melt butter, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Cream egg yolks and sugar until they become light, creamy, and fluffy. While mixing, drizzle cooled butter into sugar-egg yolk mixture.
  3. Fold salt into sugar-egg yolk mixture.
  4. Whisk heavy cream to medium-to-stiff peaks and fold into sugar-egg yolk mixture.
  5. Whisk egg whites to peaks and fold into semifreddo mixture. Pour into a container, cover tightly, and freeze for several hours or overnight to set.
  6. Serve in scoops, topped with crumbled chocolate wafers and jam, if desired. This semifreddo will keep for two to three days tightly sealed in the freezer -- after this it will start to break down.
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Comments (32) Questions (2)

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3 months ago Elina

What could be the measure for I stick butter? In Grams preferably.

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3 months ago burns Wattie

113g

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12 months ago Joshua jording

This, this is a dangerous recipe. Be forewarned of it's deliciousness; the legends were true.

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over 1 year ago mj.landry

Ooops...just scrolling down the comments and see that others already did the browned butter method :-)

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over 1 year ago mj.landry

I bet this would be good also with browned butter...it would give it a nutty salty flavor!

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almost 2 years ago essbee

Has anyone made half a batch? If so, were you successful?

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almost 2 years ago essbee

Thank you!

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almost 2 years ago Jenny Maria

Made it today, and love it. I made browned butter and used saltede butter, added no salt

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almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Egg whites tend to whip more easily at room temperature (and cream whips better cold) -- that said, I've made this with eggs straight out of the fridge and it worked just fine.

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almost 2 years ago LuceyGirl

This ice cream turned out beautifully. The depth if flavour, consistency and how scoop-able it was - well this will become a staple in our freezers. On its own or paired with warm butter tart filling drizzled over the top, this recipe is divine.

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almost 2 years ago Yelena

I was surprised, though I guess I should not have been, by how buttery this ice cream tasted. I would not recommend eating it on its own; the buttery taste is too rich. It does not come off as a refreshing treat on a hot summer day, but instead as a delightful addition to a prepared dessert or certain breakfast items. Serving it on pound cake, pancakes, or waffles is a good alternative I've found.

Otherwise, a very easy and quick recipe to make.

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almost 2 years ago burns Wattie

I agree.Its insanely rich and decadent. I would entreat the creator to think in terms of weight. The one stick +2tbs butter I believe works out to 180g. A couple of other thoughts: an equal weight of semisweet chocolate melted with the butter would give..... and also I did not have unsalted butter, but using salted butter and no additional salt worked well. I am intrigued by the chemistry of it. So the whipped egg whites, the whipped egg yolk & sugar are responsible for it not tightening into a solid mass? Could this technique be then used for other ices? like lighter sorbets without the butter? OR is the butter necessary for the emulsification the same way it is in a hollandaise?

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almost 2 years ago EBCornell

What size container should you use? I'd imagine the depth of the vessel will have an effect on how it sets up, but the recipe doesn't indicate a specific container size.

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almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I've used a loaf pan and an 8x8 cake pan (both metal) -- both worked well. I think a resealable plastic container could be good too, though you may want to make sure it's in a shallow layer, since plastic won't transfer the chill as quickly as a metal pan does.

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almost 2 years ago burns Wattie

Looks wonderful. Cant wait to try it. A great compliment to what I already do super easy: toss fruit in the freezer. When frozen, puree and add a touch of yogurt and some maple syrup/honey/agave to taste

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almost 2 years ago Jessica M-G

If using a single stand mixer, what is the best order of operations for whipping each ingredient?

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almost 2 years ago katespreen

I love the idea of browning the butter in this ice cream and, without even trying it yet, will most definitely add this to my list of my favorites.
I ran into a glitch last week where my ice cream maker "froze up" (no pun intended). I had prepared a custard-based lemon mix, placed it in a stainless steel bowl, put it in the freezer and about every 20-25 minutes I vigorously whisked the mixture, with the bowl still in the freezer, until it reached a thick consistency. (This took a couple of hours.) I then creamed it with an emulsifier (optional), and kept freezing it and whisking it became more creamy and had a churned-like texture. It definitely took a lot of baby-sitting, but it was a very successful workaround, which resulted in a beautiful lemon ginger cookie ice cream. No ice cream machine required.

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almost 2 years ago Irenew

Could this be made of salted butter without adding the salt in the receipe?

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almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Sure thing, but you might want to adjust the salt to taste.

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almost 2 years ago mimi

Can this recipe be made using a sugar substitute like Splenda?

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almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Apparently Splenda won't cream with butter in the same way sugar will, so it will probably have a different texture -- but maybe the eggs and cream would make up for that.

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almost 2 years ago Cheryl B K

Looks delicious! I've been looking for an ice cream recipe that doesn't include an ice cream maker. So, 6-8 servings: how big is a serving–1/2 cup? Also, I'm thinking of making a half recipe. Will simply halving everything work?

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almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Halving should work just fine -- and I would say this serves 6 to 8 rather generously, since it's pretty rich (more like 1 cup servings).

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almost 2 years ago Deanna

Can't wait to try

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almost 2 years ago chez_mere

Any thoughts about whether browning the butter would negatively effect the outcome?

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almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I haven't tried it -- but I think it's a great idea, and I don't think it would cause any trouble.

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almost 2 years ago chez_mere

Well I didn't brown the butter, but I did swirl in some jammy stewed cherries I had sitting in my fridge. See how this pairs with the chocolate-almond torte I'm making for a birthday!

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almost 2 years ago Amanda Shulman

having this recipe posted has just changed my life in an extremely dangerous way

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almost 2 years ago Luca Fois

That's exactly what I was about to say!