Thoughts with Ukraine: with displaced refugees, with those hiding in subway stations, with mothers in a makeshift bunker-turned-maternity ward, and with those who volunteer to defend their city, a fact which belies a deep acquaintance with instability, threat, and love for their country. The daily news coverage of atrocity, destruction and death still feels surreal to me, but is hardly surreal for Ukrainians in the midst of air raid sirens or the diaspora trying to reach loved ones.
And for everyone, a thousand uncertainties: what comes now that the uneasy status quo is broken – what can phase an authoritarian fixated on an empire and thus far unmoved – whether this is the tipping point or we have been heading there for a very long time now – what complicated history remains.
And what also emerged: a double standard in media coverage and global unity; take the euphemistic language in which Western reporters try to justify why this conflict is so different from others. If there was any question of what motivates this double standard, the answer in here in the egregious racist hostility facing African and South Asian students trying to escape Ukraine. These questions in no way diminish the horror of the Ukrainian invasion or the how vital a continued and escalated global response to the situation in Ukraine is – but it reminds us that there are and will be other situations which also warrant global outrage and a humanitarian response for all people.
This semifreddo was inspired by Zoe Bake’s blood orange creamsicle semifreddo, made with a layer of sorbet over frozen mousse.
I actually first made this last year, an initial version flavoured with mango and cardamom, a classic combination that I love. But I do feel cardamom is probably a bit overdone on my blog. So I tried another combo, this time using honey and chrysanthemum (chamomile would also work, it’s just that I had chrysanthemum on hand) and I found I actually preferred the balance between tart bright mango orange sorbet and the soft and sweetly flavoured semifreddo below.
mango, honey & chrysanthemum semifreddo
mango orange sorbet
- 280g mango puree (from about 2 1/2 – 3 ataulfo mangos)
- 60g strained fresh orange juice (from about 1 navel orange)
- 30g simple syrup, or to taste (you can use sugar instead, but it will take some additional stirring to make sure its dissolved)
- 1 tbsp grand marnier (optional, but helps keep it soft despite the lower sugar content)
honey chrysanthemum semifreddo
- 220g heavy cream
- 5g dried chrysanthemum (1/4 cup)
- 3 1/2 (175g) large eggs
- 35g honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Line a standard loaf tin with plastic wrap or parchment paper and place in the freezer to chill.
Stir together the mango puree, orange juice, simple syrup and grand marnier. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While still soft, spread into the bottom of the prepared loaf tin in an even layer. Return to the freezer and freeze completely before adding the semifreddo on top.
For the semifreddo, place the cream in a container along with the dried chrysanthemum. Stir together and place in the fridge for a cold infusion for at least 24 hours or up to a few days.
Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water – or other double boiler set up. Whisk together the eggs and honey in the bowl. Mix continuously with a rubber spatula until the eggs reach about 165F. The eggs will appear syrupy. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until the bowl feels cool to the touch and the eggs have quadrupled in volume – and in the words of Stella Parks (original recipe) “thick enough to briefly mound up like soft-serve ice cream when dropped from the whisk.” This may take 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, while the eggs are whipping, pass the cream through a sieve to remove the chrysanthemum and.put the infused cream into a bowl along with the vanilla bean paste. Whip until stiff.
Add half of the whipped cream to the eggs and whisk in until combined. Add the remaining cream, folding it in gently with a rubber spatula. Pour the semifreddo over the sorbet in the prepared loaf tin and return to the freezer to freeze completely.
To serve, prechill a serving board or platter in the freezer. Tip the semifreddo out of the tin and onto the prechilled serving plate. Peel off the plastic or parchment paper. Garnish if desired; I topped with some unsweetened greek yoghurt, mango slices and dried jasmine flowers – great the first day but gets very hard once frozen! The semifreddo should be pretty much ready to slice right out of the freezer, but if it’s quite hard let it set for a few minutes before cutting into slices and serving.