Semifreddo

Semifreddo with slivered almonds and cookies on a long platter

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Freeze: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
323 Calories
18g Fat
36g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 323
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 123mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 126mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Semifreddo—Italian for "half-cold" or "half frozen"—got its name because of its unique texture. Even though it's technically frozen, the Italian dessert stays soft and creamy. Unlike ice cream, semifreddo isn't churned. Whereas ice cream is scooped, semifreddo is molded and sliced, usually in a metal loaf pan.

When using a loaf pan, the key is to line the pan with overhanging plastic wrap and add the semifreddo ingredients as directed. This will make removing the semifreddo from the pan a breeze. When ready to serve, just lift up the plastic and place the dessert on a work surface to slice.

As you'd do when making ice cream, it's important to keep all the ingredients and utensils very cold during the preparation process—but especially with semifreddo because it can melt easily, Semifreddo needs to set in the freezer for at least six hours but preferably overnight (or even up to a day or two), making it a great make-ahead treat for a party or celebration. This delicious dessert looks like a professional created it and will dazzle your guests.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 4 large eggs

  • 6 amaretti cookies, finely crushed

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds

  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Semifreddo ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. Line a 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of several inches on the ends. Chill the pan in the freezer. At least 20 minutes before you are ready to whip the cream, place the large bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the refrigerator. 

    Pan lined with plastic wrap and a mixer bowl
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. When ready, remove the bowl and beaters from the refrigerator. Pour the chilled heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract into the bowl and whip the cream at high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.

    Return the bowl to the refrigerator while proceeding with the next steps. 

    Cream and vanilla in a bowl
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

    Sugar and water in a pan
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs with the mixer on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Slowly beat the hot sugar syrup into the eggs in a thin stream. Continue beating until the mixture is very light and fluffy and feels cool to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. 

    Sugar syrup and beaten eggs
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Gently fold the chilled whipped cream into the cooled egg mixture. 

    Egg whites and egg mixture
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs and chopped almonds.

    Nuts and cookie crumbs with batter
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. Remove the prepared loaf pan from the freezer. Spoon the mixture into the pan. Cover securely with the plastic wrap and return to the freezer. Freeze until set, at least 6 hours or overnight. 

    Semifreddo in a loaf pan covered with plastic wrap
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  9. Unwrap the top of the loaf pan. Invert onto a serving plate, lift off the pan and remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Cut into slices and serve immediately. 

    Semifreddo
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  10. Store remaining semifreddo slices in the freezer.

Tip

You can easily vary the flavor base of the semifreddo by creating different infused simple syrups, such as ginger, cinnamon, rose, lavender, or mint.

Variations

There are many ways to vary the flavors in semifreddo:


Chocolate chip: Fold 2 ounces chopped chocolate into the mixture before freezing.

Citrus: Add lemon, lime, or orange zest to the sugar syrup.

Fruit: Add 1 cup of blueberries, chopped strawberries, or raspberries to the mixture before freezing.

How to Store Semifreddo

Semifreddo will keep in the freezer for up to six weeks.