Serves a Crowd

Summer Corn Semifreddo with Rosemary Shortbread Crust and Blueberry Compote

August  3, 2011
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

Locanda Verde in NYC serves amazing food but their desserts are out of this world, thanks to Karen DeMasco, their pastry chef. Last summer I found myself eating there specifically for the Corn Budino. This creamy corn pudding is to die for and on the list of my top five favorite desserts! The James Beard Foundation included an adaptation of her recipe in their newsletter and I tucked it away. This recipe is my adaptation of their adaption of Chef DeMasco's recipe. —sarahmcsimmons

What You'll Need
  • For the summer corn semmifreddo:
  • 2 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and its seeds scraped and reserved
  • 8 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups blueberries, stems removed, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon strained lemon juice
  • Rosemary Shortbread, prepared, cooled, and crumbled (see below)
  • For the rosemary shortbread:
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. For the summer corn semmifreddo:
  2. Cut the kernels from corn cobs, reserving the cobs. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the kernels, cobs, cream, and the vanilla bean pod and seeds.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil and then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
  4. In a medium stainless steel or glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt until smooth.
  5. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk until the egg mixture is pale, thick and creamy, and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F, about 10 to 15 minutes. Put the bowl into a larger bowl of iced water to cool completely.
  6. Remove the cream mixture from the refrigerator and discard the cobs. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until thick. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the cream holds stiff peaks.
  7. Mix 1/4 of the cream into the cooled custard. Using a spatula, gently fold the remaining cream into the custard.
  8. Using 2 pieces of parchment paper, line a 9- by 13-inch cake pan, allowing the excess to hang over the ends and sides.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and cover with crumbled rosemary shortbread. Fold the overhanging parchment paper, lightly pressing the shortbread into the custard and freeze for at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.
  10. Before serving, combine 2 cups blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the juices release, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  11. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook, whisking frequently, until the compote is thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer the compote to a clean bowl and gently fold in the remaining 2 cups uncooked berries.
  12. When ready to serve remove pan from freezer and let sit at room temperature for five minutes. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  13. Gently loosen the parchment and flip the pan onto the sheet lifting the pan away and removing the parchment layer. Cut into desired number of servings and top with blueberry compote.
  1. For the rosemary shortbread:
  2. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Combine the rosemary, salt, and flour in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a hand mixer, mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Gently fold in flour 1/4 cup at a time. (I use a plastic spatula until I’ve added all of the flour and then I finish bringing it together with my hands.)
  4. Gather the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes to an hour. Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 1/2-inch thickness and cut into rectangles about 1/2-inch by 2-inch.
  5. Place the dough on a cold, ungreased baking sheet. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Remove the shortbread from the baking sheet and transfer to a rack to cool completely.
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5 Reviews

Ali S. May 18, 2016
Really adore this recipe! How far in advance can the shortbread be made?
hchambers86 October 8, 2015
I tried making this over the past two days and it was an absolute disaster. There definitely needs to be more specificity in the recipe - for example, I cannot imagine that you do not need to blend the semifreddo ingredients before chilling - mine ended up with huge unappealing chunks of corn. Secondly, the directions should specify to chill in the fridge, not the freezer, as I ended up with frozen chunky semifreddo which then failed to whip. Yes, maybe I could have used more foresight when reading the recipe and ascertained this myself, but would definitely recommend amending the recipe.
Amanda September 27, 2015
Love the flavor combo. Definitely going to make this and serve it up to some friends. It's different and unexpected.
Lusty D. September 27, 2015
Wow have to make this. I think it's a summer dessert though. Have to start a new list!
mbzmealz September 4, 2012
I've been lax. I made this recipe a year ago for dinner club and still believe it to be the best dessert I've eaten or made - ever! I'd make it again for dinner club but rules forbid repeats. Meanwhile, the corn and blueberry combination speaks volumes of SUMMER and the rosemary shortbread crust is so good I made extra for cookies. Please try this and do yourself and your friends a favor.