Passionfruit Meringue Semifreddo and…The Visions

At the beginning of next year, my Archie will turn 21.  As is custom, he’ll have a 21st birthday party.

Should serve 8-10

Should serve 8-10

Planning is now underway.  The greatest hurdle has been in trying to find a venue.  As there will be more than a few guests we are not able to have this event at home and so I’ve been on a mission to find a venue that’s nearby and not too expensive and one that will allow me to organise my own catering and one that allows you to bring in your own alcohol.

Just four ingredients

Just four ingredients

There are a few of these venues around which is great because self-catering and providing your own alcohol does help to keep the costs down, however, trust me now, most venues will not allow 21st birthday parties.  No need to guess why.

Passionfruit Semifreddo made with meringues and lemon curd

Passionfruit Semifreddo made with meringues and lemon curd

For two months I’ve been lying in bed wringing my hands and grinding my teeth wondering what we’re going to do however, can you believe all is now good because we’ve found a little-known venue that will be just perfect and as long as we pay for an ‘Operations Manager’ to be there for the duration of the party, they will allow a 21st. Sorted.

Passionfruit Semifreddo

Passionfruit Semifreddo

But if my teeth weren’t ground down to the gums over venue-stress, now Archie becomes involved in how the night will flow and the thing is, we have different visions. My vision is beautiful.  The night will be a sit-down dinner for one hundred guests made up of family, relatives, family friends and a few of Archie’s mates. Archie’s vision is a stand-up affair involving no family, no relatives and no family friends, just 175 ‘besties’ (waifs and strays), with his father behind the bar and me in the kitchen. One of us isn’t going to win. Let the games begin!

Made with just four ingredients

Made with just four ingredients

Besides grinding my teeth, I’ve been thinking about the night’s menu (the sit-down version only) and how it will be in the height of summer and so a cooling, refreshing dessert might work best. This passionfruit, meringue semifreddo has made it to my shortlist.

A passionfruit semifreddo

A passionfruit semifreddo

Passionfruit Meringue Semifreddo Serves:  8-10 Degree of Difficulty:  2/5 Cost:  If you have lemons on your tree, a passionfruit vine and chickens in your backyard this dessert will cost almost nothing.  However, if you’re like me and you have none of the above, make this when passionfruit are in season. For the Semifreddo

  • 1 1/4 cups thickened cream
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon curd (you can buy lemon curd or make your own, recipe below)
  • 8 meringues, crushed (you can buy meringues or make your own, recipe below)
  • 6 passionfruit

Line a 25cm (10 inch) x 14cm (5 1/2 inch) loaf tin with cling film. Whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold through lemon curd, meringues and passionfruit. Spoon into loaf tin and smooth surface.  Fold cling film over semifreddo and place in the freezer overnight. Remove from tin, remove cling film and slice.  Serve with a berry salad.

A portion for one

A portion for one

For the Lemon Curd

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 100g butter, chopped

Place egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice in a heavy-based saucepan.  Whisk to combine.  Add butter.  Place over medium heat.  Cook, whisking, for 7 to 8 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.   Stand for 5 minutes.  Pour into a bowl.  Cover surface with plastic wrap.  Set aside to cool.  (It sets more quickly and more firmly if placed in the refrigerator).  For the Meringues

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 140C (280F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Pour egg whites into a large, clean and dry stainless steel bowl.  Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form then add caster sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Continue beating for a few minutes after all the sugar has been incorporated until thick and glossy.  Fold in vanilla extract with a metal spoon. Spoon heaped tablespoons of mixture onto baking tray – the meringues don’t have to be neat as they’re going to be crushed anyway. Place in the oven for 40 minutes then turn off oven and leave to cool completely in the oven so they dry out.

Served with blueberries and mango

Served with blueberries and mango

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  1. My boys are still very young, so I’ve got quite a few years before I need to plan a 21st birthday party. But, if venues are that hard to find, may be I should book one now! I can image I’ll have ground my teeth down to bare gums after biting all my fingernails off, pulled all my hair out, then wrung my hands clean off by the time my oldest gets the key to the door. I know one thing for sure, I’d happily eat your delicious looking semifreddo standing or sitting… you can do that with no teeth, right?

  2. There’s never a dull moment in the Spicey household. At least if you go with Archie’s version you will have Alfie to help out behind the bar and surely Miss Arabella would help out with the handing around of canapés?? I got sent a set of white bath towels for my 21st how times have changed!

  3. seems so beautiful and so delicious… Thanks and Love, nia

  4. You’re such a nice mom to throw him a party!

  5. I like your idea of a lovely sit-down dinner. How elegant and refined! I went bar hopping for my 21st, but I was on uni exchange in Holland a million miles away from family so there wasn’t much choice 😉 Good luck in your battle of the wills!!

  6. 175??? What on earth will this child’s wedding look like? I think I had about 20-30 to my 21st birthday party! My dear Mom catered it with a bakery cake. It was lovely. I love the look of your semi-fredo Charlie, it sounds both refreshing and decadent at the same time. It’s nice that the number of yolks and whites are equal, I never like a recipe that has left over egg bits!
    I can only imaging why it’s difficult to find a venue that will allow a 21 birthday.

  7. Oh yes that old chestnut – friends vs family. The Glam teens had a sum of money to either have a party, travel or use for a future project. Each has chosen differently. Love the look of your semifreddo. I really must give semifreddo a go, they’re delicious but I’ve never made one. GG xx

  8. Now this is interesting, a huge 21st birthday party. Your guest list of 100 is just a few shy of the number invited to my daughter’s recent wedding.

    As moms we do have these visions and I really do like yours best of a lovely sit-down dinner. But then we have to step back and ask, “Whose party is this?” That should help guide you. Perhaps you and Archie can compromise.

  9. Relax, all will be well and the event will go swimmingly, I’m sure. Your dessert is a cracker. I am going to make this one xo

  10. What a refreshing and sophisticated dessert, Charlie. But how many would you need to make? Wow! That’s ambitious. Yet I know you will go all out. I’m going to look forward to my invitation, so perhaps you also need to hire a photographer so we can get the full effect when the big day arrives. I think you’re going to be too busy in the kitchen to double as photographer! I can’t wait to see who wins the negotiations! 🙂

  11. haha, sounds like you and Archie are going to have to come to some sort of compromise! My vote goes to your sit-down affair 😉 You’re such a good mum to organize such a party!!

  12. wow. What a fabulous recipe!

  13. I spent my 21st alone in a hotel room in Chicago. Actually, I arrived at the hotel at 10:30pm the night before my birthday, and they almost didn’t let me check-in because apparently they had a “21 and over” booking policy. After speaking to the manager, the receptionist lady “graciously” allowed me to sneak in an hour and a half before I turned 21.

    But yep. Alone.

  14. Good luck on the party. I’m glad I’m not in your shoes. 🙂

    I’d ask if there were any chance to have 2 – a large hall with no breakables, loud music, pizza and beer for the besties and a second, sit down affair for the rest of the guests but I don’t want to make the tooth grinding any worse.

    The semifreddo sounds delicious. I’ve yet to buy/use passion fruit but it all must be delicious.

  15. I love it that you are this organized–and full of good ideas as well. Good luck on a compromise, but I’d vote for the sit-down! And this dessert is heavenly–passionfruit, meringue, and semifreddo????? Three of my favorite things rolled into one.

  16. now this is one killer of a dessert – it looks just amazing!

  17. This dessert is perfect for ground down teeth…actually, it is perfect for any occasion and I love your flavour combinations, what a fabulous take on a classic. I did my parents a favour and choofed off overseas a week before I turned 21. Your idea sounds lovely and you are the one paying for the party and doing all the work, but like others have said,maybe a compromise could work…the stand up do but with family and friends included…

  18. Wow, this recipe has all the ingredients of an icecream being sold by one the major supermarkets (Woolworths to be exact) but at $6+ for 500g I will definitely be giving your recipe a try and will know exactly what’s in it. Thank you. And good luck with the negotiations.

  19. Hope you and Archie find common grounds and you are both happy in the end. Either way I am sure it will be a splendid 21st.
    Like that your passionfruit semifreddo is frozen making it a great do-ahead dessert.

  20. Haha…you really had me giggling as I can so relate to all of this. None of my kids wanted a high school grad party…I’m sure they thought we’d cramp their style! And Nick will turn 21 shortly after Archie. I was hoping it was during finals week so he couldn’t go out and whoop it up (he will be of legal drinking age)…but, alas, I think it’s the week before. He would want pizza and beer for his party and I’d be pushing for your semifreddo and elegant nibbles.

  21. G’day! Love your semifreddo Charlie, true!
    175 people…I don’t know that many people who I’d invite to a party too! lol
    Will look forward seeing how the party and details unfold…:)
    Cheers! Joanne

  22. Now if only I could convince Will to get chickens I would have most of the ingredients growing at home!
    I like the sound of your version much better although it sounds like quite an undertaking Charlie! x

  23. Good luck! It’s going to be fun seeing how this evolves and who wins. 🙂 Your semifreddo looks wonderful. I’ve never made one, but you sure have me wanting one right now.

  24. A sit down is a lot of work Charlie- how about a buffet of salads and cold meats? A bit more casual for Archie and a lot more relaxing on the night for you! This dessert sounds absolutely delicious, I’ll have to make it for BigJ this weekend xox

  25. I guess a cooling dessert will be just the thing for those fiery young people! Good luck with finding the right compromise about the 21st.

  26. This looks like a stunning and refreshing dessert and with just 4 ingredients how can you go wrong. Maybe there will some type of compromise that you both will be very happy with. Happy 21st!

  27. It sounds like a big celebration coming soon for sure, Archie will love it I bet!! I honestly did not realize how easy Semifreddo is to make. Your recipe sounds sooooo delicious:-) I wish it was easy to find passion fruit here, they are WAY to yummy! Hugs, Terra

  28. I know how you feel Charlie I remember how hard it was for me to have my 21st because not a lot of places were willing to let us bring our own food/drinks and even wanted me to pay more for a cake! So glad you’ve found a venue 🙂

    Hmm yum this semifreddo looks and sounds delightful and I love how it only uses 4 ingredients 🙂

  29. This is a beautiful dessert, Charlie, but I haven;t the vaguest idea how you’d make enough for the party, no matter how many are invited. You are a woman of many talents, to be sure. Good luck in the upcoming negotiations with Archie. Either way, I’m sure it will be a party Archie will be very happy with. 🙂

  30. I have twins who have just turned 18, so have 3 years to save for the 21st, am hoping they will have the same friends, want the same party at the same place at the same time, that will cut it by half cost wise, I will splash out and get them a cake each, being the nice mum I am 🙂

  31. Just catching up with the events on your blog. Good luck with the planning, it sounds daunting, but the semifredo looks a definite win.

  32. had to laugh at ‘should serve 8-10’ I reckon if that was served in my house, it’d be demolished between two people 🙂 xx

  33. Looks delicious Charlie, I am sure it will be a hit

  34. I didn’t have a 21st party and the idea of one terrified me (I managed to have a tiny wedding so you can get a sense of how much I like big celebrations revolving around me) – but the thought of organising one is a whole different kind of daunting. You are a delightful mother if your planning involves desserts like this!

  35. You always plan the best parties, can’t wait to see how this one turns out. The semifreddo sounds delic!

  36. It will be interesting to see who wins in this game. My money’s on you.

    I think this semifreddo is a winner too.

  37. Good luck with the party! I suspect they’ll be a very entertaining post (or two!) about the party. 😉 Great dessert – looks wonderful. Love the flavors in this.

  38. Best of luck with the party…I’m sure it will be a hit! Your semifreddo looks divine! xo

  39. Good thing you are planning ahead! What a delicious dessert 🙂

  40. hehehe…good luck with who wins that one 🙂

  41. EEK! Goodluck with that one. My Dad offered me $2k or a party.. I look the cash. I hope you get your vision.. it does sound beautiful 🙂

  42. have fun in your party.

  43. Operations Manager – that should be interesting.
    Oh my, so, is there no way you and Archie can meet in the middle for his party… Just a thought.
    Happy planning and negotiating, although I think the semifreddo should be a definite.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  44. waifs and strays….hahahahaa!!!!

    Operations manager, lol! My money is on you 😀

    What a beautiful looking semifreddo!

  45. Charlie, whoever wins, the food will be tasty! 😉

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