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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Just Want to Get a Fat Melon and Eat It

My favourite thing about summer is the produce, hands down. There are so many delicious things that we get to eat that just aren't as good in the other months. Things like berries, squash, green beans, it's all so delicious!

Melons are a huge part of summer. While I am not a huge watermelon fan [it tastes like water to me], hand me anything else and I'm game. Lately I've been trying out different melons other than the usual cantaloupe or honeydew to see if I can wrap my taste buds around them [hence the title of this blog, a phrase I said while pondering my new discoveries while on the MUNI in San Francisco. Needless to say, it did attract some odd stares.]

Some of my new favs are:

Crenshaw: Light orange interior with a yellow peel that feels waxy when ripe
Charanteis: Resembles smaller versions of cantaloupe
Galia: Hybrid of a cantaloupe and honeydew; green interior

When I bought my first crenshaw melon, I wanted to do more than just eat it plain, although I did do that for half of it. The weather had been pretty warm lately, so I decided to use the other half and make a semifreddo, a sort of half-frozen ice cream made with whipping cream, eggs, and sugar. Since it isn't churned, it doesn't freeze and there are no ice crystals, which makes it softer. They are usually served in moulds, like the doughnut-shaped versions at A16 in San Francisco, but any type of pan at home is fine to freeze it in. I like freezing it in a loaf pan so I can slice it and serve with some almonds as garnish.

Since my melon was uber ripe by the time I used it, I didn't have to use much sugar. When you make this at home and use fruits, pay attention to the fruit's natural sweetness and add sugar as you prefer; the recipe version might be too much or too little.

Ideas for next time: Different fruits/melons, some sort of garnish [berries, mint syrup]

Melon-Brown Sugar Semifreddo

  • 1 pound peeled chopped crenshaw melon (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Almonds [for garnish]

Line loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang at each end. Purée melon with 1/3 cup sugar and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to large metal bowl and stir in yolks. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with mixer until pale, thick, and tripled in volume, about 10 minutes.

Remove bowl from saucepan and set in a large ice bath. Continue to beat until cold, about 6 minutes.

Beat cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in other large bowl using cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into cantaloupe mixture gently but thoroughly.

Pour mixture into pan and freeze, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until firm, at least 5 hours. Uncover top and invert semifreddo onto a plate. Garnish with almonds.

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