Semifreddo cream tarts

Semifreddo is an Italian term for desserts that are served semi-frozen. These no-bake semi-frozen tarts are light, refreshing and not too sweet. They’re great on a hot summer day.

You can make them plain or with grated chocolate and cinnamon sprinkled on the tops or add a fresh fruit layer. You can be as creative and decorative as you want.

The filling is made with cashews, almond cream, honey or maple syrup and lemon juice. The base is a mix of roasted almonds and oats, dates and maple syrup. If your diet is generally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, cashews and almonds are good for your health.

When out of the freezer, there’s no mess with these tarts; just peel off the muffin molds and they hold beautifully together. The molds are made of recyclable paper. Below is the recipe. Enjoy!

 
Semifreddo cream tarts

Twelve muffin paper molds.

Makes 12 tarts.

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 cup almonds with skin, roasted
  • ½ cup small-size rolled oats, roasted
  • 1 tsp powdered vanilla
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted + 3 tablespoons (tbsps) water
  • 2 tbsps pure maple syrup

Filling

  • 1½ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in water or at least 2 hours in boiled water.
  • ¼ cup pure lemon juice
  • ½ cup liquid honey or pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup almond cream 
  • 1½ tsp agar-agar powder

Toppings (option)

  • Grated dark chocolate mixed with powdered cinnamon or,
  • Fresh or frozen fruit, lemon juice, granulated sugar & 1 tbsp agar-agar powder*

*Fruit topping: put fresh or frozen fruit (about 2 cups), whole or chopped, in a bowl. Squeeze a little lemon juice and mix this to the fruit. Mash 1-2 tablespoons of the fruit in a separate bowl to make some fruit juice and add this to the fruit. Add 1 tbsp agar-agar powder and mix. If the fruit mixture is sour, add some granulated sugar. Mix and chill in fridge for 30 minutes. It will slightly gel. With a slotted spoon, spread the fruit on top of the tart fillings already in molds (see procedure). Put tarts in freezer.

Procedure

Base

Oven at 350°F /180 °C.

  1. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put rolled oats in a small ungreased pan and add the vanilla. Dry roast on medium-high, stirring constantly until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium-size bowl.
  3. Take almonds out of oven and chop them small. Mix chopped almonds with oats.
  4. In a small microwaveable bowl, put the pitted dates and add 3 tbsps of water. Press the dates into the water and microwave covered on high for 10 seconds to soften. Take out and keep the water with the dates. Add the maple syrup and process with a handheld blender until it looks like caramel.
  5. Add the caramel to the almond / oat mixture and mix with a spoon until well incorporated.
  6. Use 12 paper muffin molds and put about 1½ tablespoons of base mixture in each. Press down with fingers tips so that mixture sticks together. I also use the bottom of a small stem glass to press them even. Put molds in fridge.

Filling

  1. Strain soaked cashews and rinse them under cold running water. Put them into a high-speed blender.
  2. In a small bowl, hand whisk the lemon juice with the honey (or maple syrup) and add this to the cashews in blender. Blend just enough to mix the ingredients (it will still be lumpy looking).
  3. In a small saucepan on stovetop, heat up the almond cream and add the agar-agar. Simmer and stir for one minute only. Add this to the cashew mixture and blend for 2-3 minutes gradually increasing to high speed or until silky-smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
  4. Take prepared molds out of fridge. Directly from blender, spoon out about 1½ tablespoon-size of cashew mixture on top of each base. Spread evenly with back of a small spoon. Add toppings (option). Chill in freezer for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Peel off molds, let soften for 5-10 minutes (or longer with fruit on top) and serve semi-frozen, like ice-cream. Store leftover tarts in freezer.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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