Pearls of the Mediterranean – semifreddo, meringue and almond biscuit

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This delicious, whimsically named dessert from Marianna Vitale combines classic Italian meringue with semi freddo and almonds. The mixture of half icing sugar and half ground almonds used in the almond biscuits is known as a TPT - tant pour tant.

First published in 2015




Italian meringue


Almond biscuit

To plate


  • Food mixer with whisk attachment
  • 8cm demi-sphere moulds 6


To make the Italian meringue, whisk the egg whites with 50g of the sugar on a stand mixer to soft peaks
Make a syrup in a small saucepan with the remaining sugar and the water. Bring the syrup to 121°C, then drizzle it down the side of the bowl into the stiffened egg white mixture, whisking continuously until the meringue is cool
  • 30g of water
Transfer 75g of the meringue to a clean bowl and the rest into a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle
For the semifreddo, semi-whip 100g of the cream and fold into the Italian merignue
  • 165g of double cream
Mix in the rest of the cream and add the pistachio paste, raisins, almonds and orange. Pour the mixture into 8cm diameter semi-sphere moulds and place in the freezer for approximately 2 hours
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
To make the almond biscuit, whisk the eggs with the icing sugar and ground almonds to make a soft mixture. Add the sieved flour and the softened butter
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks
Gently mix all of the ingredients to form a dough then roll out to a thickness of 1/2cm. Cut out circles with a 8cm diameter cutter and bake on a tray for 10 minutes. Leave to cool
Remove the semifreddo from the moulds and sit on top of the biscuits. Place on plates and cover with the Italian meringue, piping from top to bottom in a swirl
Gently blowtorch the meringue until browned and transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle around the reduced orange juice. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and garnish with edible flowers to serve
First published in 2015

By choosing to cook with simple, humble ingredients and adding her own twist to classic dishes, Marianna Vitale has managed to turn her quiet suburban restaurant into a Mecca for inventive, modern cuisine.

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