Like many desserts, a semifreddo can be refined to suit special diets. Particularly, vegans can get in on this cold, light and creamy treat without having to worry about it containing the usual dairy content. Presenting my very own recipe for a Vegan Semifreddo.

As I previously described in my other semifreddo recipes, this dessert is basically a frozen mousse which is a type of custard with an aerated texture. The formula starts with a base--usually dairy, melted chocolate or fruit puree--that's simmered.

This base is then thickened with a bombe mixture (egg yolks or whole eggs and sweetener whipped over a double boiler), and in turn, lightened with folded whipped cream or whipped egg whites into it. For this mousse to become a semifreddo, it's simply poured into a container and chilled in a freezer.

Although this all sounds complicated, it's really not, especially if one already understands how to make any custard. Now for a vegan version, all the dairy in the recipe is replaced with suitable alternatives.

The best substitutes for this is coconut milk and coconut cream for their high-fat content. The coconut milk is substituted for the eggs in the bombe mixture, though some added thickeners like syrups will help. The coconut cream alone can be substituted for the whipped heavy cream or egg whites as it can volumize just as well.

Now if anyone is worried about having to serve strictly coconut flavored semifreddo for dessert whenever some vegans drop in, don't worry. Almost any other flavoring can be added into this recipe if desired. Other spices and/or extracts can be substituted for the vanilla. Alternatively, foods like chocolate or fruit can be substituted for coconut milk.

The recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 tbsp flavoring of choice
  • 1 cup coconut cream, cold

Directions

  1. Shake the cold can of coconut milk before use. Combine the coconut milk, sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add the vanilla extract and whisk the mixture until while it cooks. Once it reaches a boil and the sugar has completely dissolve, Remove from the heat to cool.
  2. When it's time to use the coconut cream, do not shake the can. Pour the coconut cream into a bowl placed over an ice bath. Whisk the coconut cream until it forms stiff peaks.
  3. Gently fold 1/4 of the whipped coconut cream into the simmered coconut milk using a rubber spatula until fully combined. Repeat the folding technique with the remainder.
  4. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with enough plastic wrap to lap over the ends. Pour the semifreddo base into the pan and chill in a freezer for 4 hours or overnight. Also, chill a large, flat dessert plate an hour before its ready.
  5. Remove the pan from the freezer and place it on a surface. Let the semifreddo thaw out slightly in room temperature for a few minutes.
  6. When it's ready, hold up the loaf pan in one hand, place the chilled plate inverted on top of the loaf pan with the other hand. Re-invert everything and place the plate holding the semifreddo onto the surface. Carefully, lift the loaf pan straight up and remove the plastic wrap.
  7. Slice the semifreddo into eight equal loaves and serve each on smaller plates.

Serves: 8

Did you enjoy that recipe or do you prefer dairy in your semifreddo?

if it's the latter, then try this recipe for a Chocolate Espresso variation. Or this one for a Marble-style semifreddo.

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