Ice Cream + Frozen Summer

Espresso Semifreddo

Espresso Semifreddo | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog
(1) Turn off the Radio.

(2) Read all the good books you can, and avoid nearly all magazines.

(3) Always write (and read) with the ear, not the eye. You should hear every sentence you write as if it was being read aloud or spoken. If it does not sound nice, try again.

(4) Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else. (Notice this means if you are interested only in writing you will have nothing to write about…)

(5) Take great pains to be clear. Remember that though you start by knowing what you mean, the reader doesn’t, and a single ill-chosen word may lead him to a total misunderstanding. In a story it is terribly easy just to forget that you have not told the reader something he needs to know – the whole picture is so clear in your own mind that you forget that it isn’t the same in his.

(6) When you give up a bit of work don’t (unless it is hopelessly bad) throw it away. Put it in a drawer. It may come in useful later. Much of my best work, or what I think is my best, is the rewriting of things begun and abandoned years earlier.

(7) Don’t use a typewriter. The noise will destroy your sense of rhythm, which still needs years of training.

(8) Be sure you know the meanings (or meanings) or every word you use.

From the letters of CS Lewis: TO A SCHOOLGIRL IN AMERICA (who had written, at her teacher’s suggestion, to request advice on writing)

I would never classify myself as writer per say, but writing has always been an important part of my self expression, for better or worse (worse being a stash of badly rhymed love poems written in my high school years that are stashed away where no one will ever find them). I’ve always best articulated my musings via the written word. This past year has been quite busy and full of change (moving and cookbooking, especially), and I’ve found myself struggling to write words, or even find words to help move my thoughts along. The good news is I’ve been reading more, mostly in hopes that someone else will have the sentences I’ve been looking for.

I stumbled upon CS Lewis’ book of letters. I had just finished reading Dorothy Sayer’s, and then Tolkien’s, and have discovered in the process that reading other people’s mail might be my favorite past time. Lewis’ book is quite a read: he starts off an athiest and ends up religious (which makes for an interesting storyline that may not be everyone’s cup of tea) but along this personal journey are letters of his travels, pages and pages of books that have inspired him, notes to young readers, tips on writing, thoughts on the death of his father and then his wife, mentions of tea-time, walking tours, and all of the other in-between times a day holds. There were moments reading when I nodded along in agreement, and then times I threw the book down in frustration (his views on women: two thumbs down). There were letters where I loved him, and letters where he absolutely annoyed me. But over the course of the book he made me want to ask more questions, and read everything, and never stop writing. A mark of a good teacher, I think.
Espresso Semifreddo | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Espresso Semifreddo | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog
Espresso Semifreddo. I tried to think of something clever to tie the above paragraphs to this dessert, but I’ve got nothing. I’ll just say that Linda Lomelino’s Ice Cream book is a gorgeous read, and while it may not send me to my desk with pen and paper, it does impel me to grab my camera and do a better job at capturing the beauty around me. Also, it absolutely inspires me to make ice cream.

Espresso Semifreddo

From Lomelino’s Ice Cream by Linda Lomelino, © 2015 by Linda Lomelino. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

This recipe does contain raw egg yolks. Make sure to use eggs from a source you can trust. I didn’t have chocolate caramels and omitted them; the semifreddo was still delicious. I used a Pullman pan to freeze the ice cream in.

1/3 cup espresso or strong coffee
1 tablespoon Kahlua
4 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 1/2 ounce chocolate caramels
1 3/4 ounces shaved dark chocolate

Line a 1-quart bread pan with plastic wrap. Let the wrap hang over the edges so you can easily pull the ice cream out of the pan once it is frozen.

Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl). Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 140 degrees (the sugar should be dissolved at this point). Transfer mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until it until the mixture is light, fluffy, glossy and the bowl feels just about room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the espresso or coffee, the Kahlua, and the egg yolks until completely combined.

In a third bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm (a standing mixer and whisk attachment works well again here) and then slowly add the espresso mixture and whisk on low until combined. Next, very gently fold in the meringue with a spatula (if you are having trouble getting the mixture completely combined, very gently use a whisk to help fold the meringue into the cream-espresso mixture).

Chop the chocolate caramels into small pieces and stir them into the ice cream mixture. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and freeze for about 6 hours.

Shave the chocolate and serve the semifreddo with the chocolate on top.
Lomelino's Ice Cream by Linda Lomelino

  • Reply
    Julia Palfrey
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    This is an awesome summer dessert for a coffee lover! ( like me)
    I will try it soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 2:48 am

    What is the collection of Lewis’ letters you read and are referring to? I’d love to read it!

  • Reply
    Boozy Epicure
    Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Looks delicious.

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Coffee + Ice Cream = Deliciousness!

    This looks like a wonderful treat. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 2:49 am

    i love your work the simplicity in it is undeniably the best and very classy, one day ill try to make on of the delicious foods you create- writing t\is my escape and its lerberating in so many ways…

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Like you, I don’t consider myself a writer. But I am. It’s weird. I’ve always had this need to express myself and it was blogging that allowed me to do it (both in the written form and through photography). These are wonderful rules to live by.

  • Reply
    Allison from Baking: a Love Story
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I do not like coffee. I have never even had a cup of the stuff. But this looks seriously lovely.

    Also, I most decidedly think of you as a writer.

    That’s all for now!


  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    This sounds sooooo yummy!! And your topping looks perfect. I NEED that book.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    These photos are stunning, Sarah. What a lovely post. <3
    … and those C.S. Lewis tips are certainly thought provoking. When I was younger I wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world, and I suppose a small part of me still does.
    That book sounds like quite an interesting read.

  • Reply
    Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 8:39 am

    This book is a beauty! I bought the original, Swedish version a couple of years ago and loved it.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 7:18 am

    What a gorgeous ice cream loaf! Those thoughts on writing are so interesting. I wonder if the milder clack of computer keys might also disrupt one’s rhythm?!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Sometimes writing comes naturally, sometimes the process requires more analysis and hard work, and sometimes it requires a step back. I think you find a wonderful balance in this space of poetry, musings and everyday life.
    As for semifreddo, it’s a firm favourite over here and anything coffee and chocolate gets my vote.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Whilst I don’t agree with everything that CS Lewis says, sometimes he absolutely just gets it. I love his advice to a young writer. So much of it is rooted in pragmatism (which I totally appreciate).

    I’m having a major love affair with semifreddos at the moment. They just perfect for this time of year.

  • Reply
    sophie // the cake hunter
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 2:39 am

    That’s such a beautiful excerpt at the top. Wonderful words. I love this recipe. Espresso flavoured anything is always at the top of my list. I really need to get my hands on Lomelino’s Ice Cream, it looks brilliant and I don’t make nearly enough ice cream.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 2:01 am

    I’ve been staring at a blank screen for a few good hours now, trying to find the right words for a blog post. Everything was getting lost in translation. And, as a rule, I try not to do too much internet browsing while writing, but I finally caved, winded up here, and couldn’t be more grateful. These words couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ll be saving them to serve as a reminder, during times when the writing process seems, more or less, impossible.

    And I’ve been hearing rave things about Lomelino’s Ice Cream, but this is the recipe that has me convinced: I need this recipe book in my arsenal. This semifreddo is absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t wait to try it out in my own kitchen.

    Thank you Sarah xo

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