Semifreddo

Semifreddo on a platter

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Freeze: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
323 Calories
18g Fat
36g Carbs
6g Protein
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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 eight 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.

"If you are looking for a delicious dessert you can make at home that is just as impressive as it is delicious, please look no further because this is it! This recipe is so simple that you can add in your favorite toppings and flavors to completely customize it to your liking!" —Kiana Rollins

Semifreddo/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

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, more for garnish, if desired

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds

  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Semifreddo ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Line a 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of several inches on all 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. 

    Plastic wrap in a loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Pour the chilled heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract into the chilled 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. 

    Chilled heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract mixture in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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, 3 to 4 minutes.

    Water and sugar mixture in a saucepan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. In another large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add 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. 

    Egg and sugar syrup mixture in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Gently fold the chilled whipped cream into the cooled egg-syrup mixture. 

    Whipped cream and egg-syrup mixture in a glass

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs and chopped almonds.

    Whipped cream mixture with cookie crumbs and chopped almonds in a glass bowl with a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Remove the prepared loaf pan from the freezer. Spoon the mixture into the pan. Cover securely with the overhanging plastic wrap and return to the freezer. Freeze until set, at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. 

    Cream mixture wrapped in plastic wrap in a loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 additional crushed cookies, if using, and the sliced almonds. Cut into slices and serve immediately. 

    Semifreddo on a platter

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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.