This Dreamy Strawberry and Cream Semifreddo Is the Dessert of the Summer

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You probably have all the ingredients in your refrigerator needed to whip up semifreddo, one of the most texturally delightful but underrated frozen treats. Easier to make than ice cream, semifreddo doesn’t require any special equipment and has the same satisfying richness combined with the lightness of a mousse. 

Frozen desserts always seem to impress, and any semifreddo you make will be the highlight of a summer gathering. With plenty of flavor combinations possible, there’s also lots of room for creativity.

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

What is Semifreddo?

Semifreddo is an elegant frozen dessert that translates to ”half-cold” or “half-frozen” in Italian. Dating back to the 19th century, semifreddo is still popular today and can most often be seen on menus at Italian restaurants. It’s akin to a frozen mousse and relies on a short list of simple ingredients that transform into a perfect summer treat. 

There’s no ice cream maker or churning required, making it easy and accessible for any home cook. 

Recipe Variations

Similar to ice cream, the flavor combinations for semifreddo are endless. This semifreddo recipe is the perfect base for any additional flavors or add-ins. Consider folding in cookie pieces, cake crumbs, or chopped nuts before freezing. Avoid fresh fruit, since it can become icy and hard.

Once the semifreddo is unmolded, it can be topped with a variety of fruits, jams, sauces, or whatever you desire. The strawberry compote recipe below is easy to adapt to a variety of berries (like raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries), and can be embellished with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, melted white chocolate, or toasted slivered almonds.

Try topping semifreddo with these sauce recipes:

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Tips and Tricks for the Best Semifreddo

While semifreddo is simple compared to many frozen desserts, there is some technique involved in bringing this dessert together. 

  • It’s imperative to whip the cream to stiff peaks but not to over-whip it, making it clumpy.
  • The egg mixture must be cooked to the proper temperature—not only to cook the eggs, but also to ensure that the mixture whips to the right consistency. Use an instant-read thermometer and make sure the tip is submerged at least an inch.
  • When folding the whipped cream into the egg base, take caution to gently fold the cream in so you don’t deflate all of the air you’ve carefully added. 

Making It Ahead

One of the benefits of making a frozen dessert is being able to make it ahead and store it in the freezer. Semifreddo can be made up to 2 weeks in advance without having any adverse effects on the flavor or texture.

Whether you keep it in the freezer for two days or two weeks, make sure to tightly wrap the dessert with plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. When you’re ready to serve the semifreddo, it can usually be served right away, but depending on how cold your freezer is, you may want to let it stand for 5 minutes at room temperature before cutting into it.

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