How to balance a semifreddi and parfait
This article is about balance:
to balance means reach a perfect equilibrium among all the ingredients to get the best texture.
Semifreddo and parfait are dessert without thickening agents.
Cold is responsible of their structure: raising the temperature would change their structure making them semi-liquid.
These desserts are made by:
- Italian meringue
- Custard (for Italian semifreddo)
- Fruit puree or classic aromatic pastes
- Whipped cream (35% fat)
Italian meringue and pâte a bombe
In recipes they are named as “basic compounds” and their role is to bring sugars and air into the dessert.
As you know, sugar is an antifreeze agent, but it should be perfectly dosed.
A perfect balance to obtain a soft semifreddo at -12/-15°C, is the one with sugars in a percentage equal to 23-24%.
These basic ingredients should be present in an amount from 10 to 40%.
Used as a base, alone or with Italian meringue, brings texture and sugars to our preparation.
A custard for semifreddo has a higher amount of sugar than a standard recipe because helps to improve the antifreeze effect.
Cream should be present in an amount from 20 to 40%.
Fruit purees are used in semifreddo with Italian meringue.
While using them it is important to consider that they contain sugar, that should be subtracted when the 23% of total sugar is calculated.
Some example – sugar in fruit:
- Strawberry: 5,5%
- Melon: 7,9%
- Pineapple: 9,3%
- Apple: 10%
Fruit puree should be present in an amount from 10% to 35%.
Classic aromatic pastes
Pastes normally added to give taste, they can be pure (e.g.: hazelnut paste, pistachio, etc.) or with sugar and other ingredients.
When a pure paste is used, it is just necessary to remember that a little fat is added. On the other hand, if sugar is present, you need to count it when the 23% of total sugar is calculated.
Pastes should be present in an amount from 10 to 15%, but it is suggested to follow the producer recommendations.
Whipped cream (35% fat)
Whipped cream brings fat and air to the compound.
Fat is important to get the best structure (it solidifies with cold) and to give creaminess.
My suggestion is to always use fresh cream with 35% of fat half-whipped, to have small cavities, a higher stability and a greater creaminess.
The utilized amount should be from 30 to 60%.
How to calculate sugar percentage
This calculous is not difficult but to let you better understand I will give you some examples.
Let’s start from the Italian meringue:
- 100 g egg white
- 210 g sugar
- 70 g water
The sum of all ingredients (except water that evaporates) is 310 g.
Now you just need to write an easy proportion:
For practical purposes this coefficient will be rounded to 70%.
Once you get that meringue has 70% of sugars you can calculate the other quantities.
Knowing that sugar amount on 1000 g of final product should be 230 g (23%), you need to calculate, as a first step, the amount of Italian meringue.
230:70 (sugar into the meringue) =3,28
Now you got a basic recipe for a semifreddo/parfait:
328 g Italian meringue or pâte a bombe
672 g half-whipped cream 35% fat
Obviously, you still need the aromatic part given by a classical paste or fruit.
If you use a pure hazelnut cream with a large amount of fat, this would be the calculous:
328 g pâte a bombe
600 g whipped cream
72 g hazelnut paste
For a fruit semifreddo you need to consider sugar present in the puree.
E.g.: semifreddo with 30% strawberries puree:
300*5,5% =16,5 (fruit sugar)
230 (total sugar to 23%)-16,5=213 g
213:70 (sugar into italian meringue) =3,04
300 g (strawberries puree) +304 g (Italian meringue)=604 g
You should subtract 604 da 1000 (total weight).
Results: 396 g of whipped cream.
Have a nice dessert…perfectly balanced!