"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pistachio Schadenfreude, or Melissa Learns a New Vocabulary Word

There's a handful of foreign-born words in use by the literati that's a little...hazy. In my own mind, that is. It took me decades to finally remember what sturm und drang means (and I only remember now because "sturm" is much like "storm")--I saw it in use so rarely that it took a while to stick.

So I was a little suspicious of Pistachio Semifreddo, at least of the name. But the head notes in Gourmet Today are reassuring--semifreddo means "half-cold"--that seems easy enough, right? Like semisweet chocolate. (Though it must be noted that I've told everybody since I made this dish that semifreddo means "half-soft". WHATEVA, foreign-born words! I really am trying!)

This is a delicious dessert. Man is it easy, and if I were a dedicated ice cream eater I would throw away my ice cream maker (pain in the tuckus) because this technique rocks.

Here it is--grind pistachios with sugar. Whip egg whites with sugar. Whip heavy cream with almond extract. Fold all three together. Freeze. The result is creamy and light at the same time and of course pistachios are awesome.

If you've never heard of semifreddo, you might be wondering if you could make it with something besides pistachios--and the answer is yes! Epicurious has three pages of recipes --everything from grappa semifreddo to banana-peanut.

You might be wondering now about the title of this blog post, which is neither sturm und drang OR semifreddo. Well, it's because I was in a conversation that went like this:

My husband: What's the name of that dessert? It means something like "world weariness, right?"

Me: O_o

My husband: Shu...Sha...

Me: Do you mean shadenfreude?

My husband: Yes.

Me: No. The name of the dessert is "semifreddo". It means half-soft, not world weariness.

My husband: Are you sure?

Me: Of course I'm sure! Why would somebody name a dessert Pistachio World Weariness?

My husband: I don't know...maybe you eat it when you're weary?

Then I looked up Shadenfreude because I didn't know exactly what it meant but I see it slung around from time to time when people are trying to look smart (talking to you, book critics)

Hey, guess what? Shadenfreude does NOT mean world weariness, it means "pleasure derived from the misfortune of others". For some reason, the idea of hanging this concept on a dessert makes me laugh, probably because I'm immature enough to enjoy the idea of somebody getting their just desserts.

1 comment:

Georgia said...

I love ice cream and can't be bothered with an ice cream maker but the method you describe sounds doable on a regular basis. Yay!