Fig and Amaretti Semifreddo al Mascarpone

by Jenn on September 22, 2011

in Desserts,Gluten Free

Fig and Amaretti Semifreddo al Mascarpone

I love how when a cold front comes in, the lake becomes enveloped by its own foggy cloud, bathing the land in a softened dewy light.  And while it may be chilly out, there is an unexplained warmth by the light wrapping herself around us – and looking out to the lake is a wall of bright, making one wonder if something different might lie out there beyond the mist….

Boats on the water

The wall of light silhouettes the world looking out to the lake, and for a split second one wonders if nature is just showing us the simpler bare version of ourselves, our souls…

In this light everything seems in harmony and at peace.  And while I lament not being able to see the mountains beyond, it is only for an instant, as now I can see the beauty within the lake itself, here on the shore.  For the mountains don’t define the lake.  The lake is her own being, fully of splendor all in her own right, shining from within herself.

And then I begin to wonder what defines me.  Am I too, often mistakenly defined by that which surrounds me? Or is there an inner quality that makes itself known to the world?  In a day where society desperately wants us to put ourselves in many ever increasingly confining boxes with everyone else, how do we even know who we are anymore?  What is it that defines us?

Lake Geneva Shore

It seems to me that the more I live this life, the more I realize that all of society attempts to make sense of the world by putting everything into compartments, and that compartmentalizing pervades our culture.  Increasingly I see attempts to define people (and people’s attempts to define themselves) by the movies we like, the songs we listen to, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the sports we do, the brands we shop.  The advent of social networking has only exacerbated this, everyone’s profile a nice little summary of their target niche for advertisers to latch on to.  But know what? I am not defined by the clothes I wear, my favorite football team, the products in my home nor even my music taste.  I am not defined by my love of cooking, hiking, nor even my love of photography.

No.  Instead, I am defined by the types of relationships I have and with whom I choose to include in my life and share.  By how I interact with those that I love, and those I do not.  I am defined not by the activities in which I endeavor, but how I handle experiences in life and more importantly, how I moved on from them and grew as a person.  For each experience does not define me, rather, each one gives me an opportunity to define myself.  We define ourselves by the values with which we choose to live by, and how well our decisions do or do not align with those values.  As well as how we grow and change over time.  These are the things that make us individuals, unique.  And these are precisely the things for which there is not box to fill in on one’s profile.  Sometimes they may not even be known to ourselves.

Maybe we are fighting too hard to be individuals, to be unique – is it that with personality becoming seemingly more and more manufactured in our world, we all are striving to find our own truths and in turn suffering from chronic identity crisis?  I think it’s ok if we don’t have it all figured out yet.  Even as an adult, I still am learning about myself – I hope I always am.  And I hope I change and grow, that my mind and myself evolves as I find each subsequent truth in this life.  We all have different ever changing facets about ourselves – and part of what brings that individuality is how they all interplay with each other throughout our interactions and experiences.  I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago, and for the most part that is a very good thing :)

Change, in of itself, is an element of beauty.  And it’s another reason why I love living near this lake – because every time I gaze out across the waters, I see something slightly different.  Different moods, whims, and fancies, colors and shapes.  And it’s all beautiful.


Sunset on Lake Geneva

It’s how we change.  How we evolve ourselves based on new interactions and experiences, that’s what makes us who we are.  That’s what defines us.  Not what movies we watch or where we live or what activities we do.  Who we are, each of us, goes much deeper than that.

In a world that wants to put everyone into a box, never forget what makes you who you are.

I made semifreddo, with figs and amaretti cookies.  Not because making food (sweet or savory) is who I am, simply because I enjoy cooking, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying ice cream here :)  No deeper meaning other than it sounded good.  Did I mention figs are in season right now? So hard to have figs in our home long enough to actually make something with them, they’re my husband’s favorite fruit.  But this semifreddo? Might just be worth it.

Fig and Amaretti Semifreddo al Mascarpone Fig and Amaretti Semifreddo al Mascarpone



Fig and Amaretti Semifreddo al Mascarpone

Adapted from Gourmet Kitchen Tales  and
Prep Time: 1 hr to make cookies and prep ingredients
Total Time: 6-8 hoursdepending on freezing time


  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 150g sugar
  • 100 mL water
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 300 mL cream
  • 190g mascarpone
  • 300g figs, chopped (the smaller the better)
  • 100g amaretti cookies, crumbled


  1. Add vanilla bean, sugar and water to a pot and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the sugar to a boil and let boil until it reaches hard ball stage (250F/120C) about 5 – 7 minutes.
  2. While the sugar is boiling, in a large mixing bowl whisk (or beat) the egg yolks until thick and creamy, and pale in color.
  3. When the sugar is ready, while still beating the egg yolks, slowly trickle some of the sugar syrup in.  The idea is to incorporate all the boiling syrup into the eggs without scrambling them.  It helps to have 2 ppl here –  one to hold the bowl and whisk, and one to slowly pour in the sugar syrup.  But take care also to do it quick enough that the syrup doesnt’ cool too much else it won’t blend into the eggs well.
  4. Keep beating the eggs until cooled to room temperature.
  5. In another bowl, beat the cream and mascarpone together until one has stiff peaks.  Also now is a good idea to line a banana bread pan with plastic wrap – this will make it easier to take out the semifreddo later.
  6. Fold the whipped cream into the yolks, and then add in the figs and cookies.
  7. Pour into the banana bread pan, and let set in the freezer overnight.
  8. To serve remove semifreddo from pan by lifting up the plastic wrap, and slice.