Semifreddo

All out of nowhere, London is seeing sunny blue skies and highs of 20’C. The weather forecast is also looking remarkably good for the next few days, and I am simply combusting with excitement at the thought of revisiting Scoop this weekend after several months of not gorging on their delicious gelato.

I was initially planning to blog about a Persian pomegranate and walnut chicken stew I made a while ago, but decided that this unprecedented excellent weather warranted a “summery” post. The stew will just have to wait, as delicious as it was!

I made semifreddo for the first time last summer (and yes, they have sat in my pile of backlogs for almost a year now), and thought the good weather was an excellent reason to finally blog about them.

Semifreddo is Italian for “half cold”, and refers to any type of semi-frozen dessert. I call it the “cheats” way to making ice cream, as no churning is needed to make it i.e. no ice cream maker needed. And seeing as I’ve been trying to refrain from adding to my evergrowing collection of kitchen appliances (I am fast running out of counter space!), semifreddo will do very nicely thank you. Till I eventually get an ice cream maker, that is.

I made two batches of semifreddo: one with gooseberries, and the other with raspberries. I also experimented with various ways of presenting the semifreddo, as you can probably tell from the photos. I made some into pops, some into a ‘loaf’, and some into mooncakes.The mooncake moulds I used are jelly molds, and I did worry that the semifreddo would not unmold properly… thankfully they managed to retain the intricate designs post-unmolding!

What I really enjoyed whilst making this was the flexibility to experiment – you can choose to make seperate fruit/semifreddo layers, swirl the fruit mixture into the semifreddo, or use the fruits as they are. I initially planned to make a raspberry swirl semifreddo in a loaf shape, but got too lazy to puree the raspberries and so just used the berries whole. It worked out well though as most of the raspberries sunk to the bottom and thus produced quite a lovely design.

This is a very easy frozen treat to make, and I shall definitely be experimenting with more flavours this summer. Am already planning to make a black forest version (with cherries, kirsch and chocolate) as well as an apple crumble version. Ooooh the possibilities.

What is your favourite semifreddo/ice cream flavour?

Basic semifreddo mixture
Adapted from a recipe in Donna Hay Magazine, issue 49

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks, extra
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups single cream (alternatively, you can use whipping cream, or even double cream)

1. Place the eggs, extra yolks, vanilla and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Heat bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, and using a hand held electric mixer, beat for 6-8 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and pale. (I use a hand held electric whisk, but I’m sure a normal whisk would do just as nicely)
2. Remove bowl from the heat, and beat for a further 6-8 minutes, or until cool.
3. In a clean bowl, whisk the single cream until soft peaks form.
4. Gently fold the cream through the egg mixture until well combined.
5. (If you are planning to make a flavoured version, add your fruits/fruit puree/other ingredients now.)
6. Pour into 2 litre capacity mold/tin.* Freeze for 6 hours, or overnight.

* Alternatively you may choose to make individual portions of semifreddo – if this is the case, use small containers/bowls/tins/glasses. If you make it in a loaf tin and intend to unmold it whole (instead of scooping out individual scoops of semifreddo), do remember to line the loaf tin with clingfilm before filling it with the semifreddo mixture.

For the raspberry semifreddo:
Mix 750g raspberries with 2 tbsp icing sugar, and stir until the raspberries are slightly macerated. Add this to the semifreddo mixture after step (4) above.

For the gooseberry semifreddo:
Mix 600g gooseberries with 1/4 cup caster sugar. You may need more sugar if your gooseberries are very tart. Cook in a pan over low heat, until the gooseberries break down slightly (it took me approximately 10 minutes to get to this stage). Add this to the semifreddo mixture after step (4) above.

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15 thoughts on “Semifreddo”

  1. You so read my mind! I have been thinking of making semifreddo as soon as there is space in my microscopic excuse for a freezer (dammit!). I so want to start with coffee semifreddo them move on to something with summer berries. Each of yours are so gorgeous and I am loving the basic recipe!. Fabulous!

  2. WOW. I think the raspberry loaf semifreddo looks AMAZING. Having the raspberries sink to the bottom adds to the effect. NO ice cream maker, you say? I think I will be making this all summer long ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. All of those semifreddos look sooo gorgeous! I’m an ice cream and frozen yogurt fan, but I’ve never tried semifreddo. All of these yummy photos are definitely making me want to hit the kitchen asap. Something about that raspberry one in particular just makes me grin. Perfect for springy/summery weather! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Thank you! I’m a huge ice cream/frozen yogurt/gelato fan too, but my previous attempt at frozen yogurt ended up more like granita, because of the coarse ice crystals. So semifreddo is the easy way out, which is just as delicious!

  4. Semifreddo on the brain. I love the mooncake ones.

    I made a semifreddo last weekend, incorporating toasted marshmallow fluff, a riff on S’Mores. I’ll post it in a few weeks, topped with graham cracker crumbs and magic shell chocolate!

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