Cinnamon Semifreddo with Figs

Semifreddo—Italian for "semi-frozen"—is like a light, mousse-like ice cream that you can make with a stand mixer. Figs macerated in bourbon, honey, and olive oil add a beautiful touch to this dessert, which would make a festive finish to any holiday meal.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Cinnamon Semifreddo

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

2 tablespoons honey, preferably wildflower

2 1/3 tablespoons sugar

6 large egg yolks

3/4 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Flaky salt, for finishing

Figs

6 ripe figs

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon bourbon, or more, to taste

1 teaspoon honey, preferably wildflower

1 pinch kosher salt

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup sour cream, divided

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream on high speed until medium stiff peaks form, 4–5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Bloom the gelatin by mixing with cold water, then resting to thicken, 4–5 minutes. In a small saucepan clipped with a candy thermometer, add the honey and sugar. Turn heat to low and slowly simmer the mixture until liquid reaches 238 F (called "soft-ball stage"), 10–12 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks in stages. Start by mixing on high speed until egg yolks are light and lemon-colored, 4–5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the figs. Cut the figs in half. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice, bourbon, honey, a pinch of salt, and olive oil. Allow figs to macerate for at least 10–15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  3. After 4-5 minutes, when the egg yolks are light yellow, turn off the mixer. Mixture will still be thin and liquid as it drips off the whisk. Add cinnamon and salt. Beat on high speed, 2–3 minutes. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and continue mixing on medium speed until pale in color, 1–2 minutes. Turn off mixer. Mixture should now fall from the whisk in smooth ribbons.
  4. When the honey sugar mixture has reached the soft-ball stage (238 F), remove from heat; carefully unclip and set aside the thermometer. Turn the mixer to low speed. Slowly add the honey-sugar mixture, streaming it in the space between the side of the bowl and the whisk, so it mixes evenly without splashing. When all of the honey-sugar mixture has been added, turn the speed to medium-high. Meanwhile, add the bloomed gelatin to the warm empty saucepan that contained the honey-sugar mixture, and stir to deglaze any residual honey-sugar. Turn the speed to low, and stream the gelatin into the mixer. Turn speed to high and continue mixing until the egg yolk mixture is thick, pale, and tripled in volume, 4–5 minutes.
  5. Fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture in stages to gently incorporate. Use a rubber spatula to add ⅙ of the whipped cream to the egg yolks; briefly stir it before gradually folding it into the yolks to incorporate. Repeat with ⅓ of the remaining whipped cream, then ½, continuing the process of stirring and folding until all of the whipped cream has been added and thoroughly combined.
  6. Place 6 ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet for easy handling. Evenly divide the semifreddo among the ramekins, first filling each one halfway, then filling them the rest of the way; this helps with even distribution. Place in the freezer for 1½–2 hours, and up to overnight. (Cover with plastic wrap if you have any strong odors in your freezer.)
  7. 30 minutes before serving, remove semifreddo from the freezer to soften slightly. Finish each ramekin with 2 tablespoons of sour cream, spread evenly across the top. Garnish with two fig halves, a spoonful of the macerated juices, and a sprinkle of flaky salt. Serve.