Makes 8 servings
From Season 9, Mexico: One Plate At A Time
For the Pepitoria Candy:
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups toasted, salted peanuts
1 cup toasted, salted pumpkinseeds
For the Peanut Semifreddo:
1 ½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
A generous 1/3 cup extra smooth peanut butter (we like the Smart Balance brand)
¼ cup sugar
A generous ½ cup honey
6 egg whites
Pinch of salt
For the Garnishes:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup toasted, crumbled cacao nibs
1 cup store-bought cajeta (goat’s milk caramel) or caramel
1. Making the pepitoria. In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, combine the sugar and ¼ cup of water and simmer until the syrup begins to caramelize and turn a pale amber color. Remove from the heat (the caramel will continue to cook, turning a shade or two darker) and quickly add the peanuts and pumpkinseeds, stirring to coat them evenly in the caramel. Spread out the candy on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and allow it to cool and harden completely.
2. Making the semifreddo. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream and peanut butter and beat on medium high until soft peaks form. Scrape into another bowl and refrigerate to thoroughly chill.
In a medium (3-quart) saucepan set over medium heat, dissolve the sugar and honey in a scant ¼ cup of water. Boil the mixture until the syrup reaches soft ball stage (238 degrees on a candy thermometer).
While the syrup is boiling, combine the egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl, preferably a metal one. Beat the egg whites on high until soft, but not dry, peaks have formed. With the mixer still running, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in 4 additions. Finally, keep beating the mixture until the bowl is cool to the touch and the egg whites are shiny and stiff.
Remove the peanut butter cream from the refrigerator and gently fold one quarter of the cream into the sweet egg whites. Add the remaining cream in several additions, folding it gently after each addition. When it is completely mixed, scoop it into a loaf pan, cover and freeze for several hours.
3. Prepare the garnishes and build the dessert. Roughly chop the pepitoria. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the whipping cream and sugar and beat until soft peaks form. (Refrigerate if you are not ready to serve the dessert.)
When you are ready to serve, build each dessert: Use about two tablespoons of the chopped candy to make a bed on the plate. Top the candy with two scoops of the semifreddo. Dollop the semifreddo with a bit of whipped cream. Put 4 or 5 raspberries on the plate, and dust the whole dessert with cocoa nibs and some more pepitoria. Finally, finsh the plate with drizzle of cajeta.