The Italian Semifreddo is a class of frozen desserts made with egg yolks, sugar, and cream. It has the texture of frozen mousse, making it a delicious and refreshing treat.
This dessert's Spanish counterpart is called semifrío. SemiFreddo means semi-frozen in Italian.
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I enjoyed serving this dessert for Father's Day to my Dad. This is one of those desserts you'll be looking forward to serving people. The reactions are priceless.
Most people have never heard of an Italian Semifreddo, adding to the fun of sharing this dessert with your family and friends.
📖 About Italian Semi-Freddo
SemiFreddo is a type of semi-frozen dessert that originates from Italy. It is made with eggs, sugar, and cream and is often flavored with coffee, chocolate, or liqueur. SemiFreddo can be served either as a cake or in individual portions.
SemiFreddo is a lighter, airier alternative to traditional ice cream. The egg whites give it a foamy texture, while the cream and sugar give it a smooth, rich flavor. SemiFreddo can be made with different kinds of milk, but whole milk provides the best results.
Egg Whites 🥚 - a key ingredient that gets whipped into medium peaks. Creates an amazing texture.
Heavy Cream 🥛 - lightly whipped, then incorporated into the egg whites.
White Sugar - melted, mixed with water, and heated until the 240 degrees, the "softball" stage, then is poured into the eggs and cream in a slow stream with the mixer turned on. The result is making a classic Italian Meringue.
Water - controls the texture of the simple syrup.
Brown Sugar - provides an added depth of flavor.
Strawberry Puree 🍓 - Or, switch for your favorite flavor.
Gram Crackers 🌊 - Optional, adding them to the tops for garnish and texture or lining the base of ramekins.
Step One: Making Italian Meringue
Using an electric mixer, add two egg whites to the mixing bowl. Have the whipping attachment attached to the machine using medium speed.
We are looking to incorporate air into the egg whites, creating
volume and texture for our semi-frozen dessert.
Step Two: Add ½ cup of refined sugar, plus one tablespoon of brown sugar in a saucepot. You don't want to use a pot that has a large bottom surface area. The sugar could start to burn easily.
Add two tablespoons of water to the sugar and turn the heat to medium-high. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar.
The Process: heat the sugar and water slowly to 240 degrees. In culinary, this is called the snowball stage. Cooking a simple syrup to 240.
Using the electric mixer, add the whipped egg whites into the bowl. On slow speed, add the melted sugar heated to (240 degrees) in a slow stream straight into the medium peaks egg whites using the whipping attachment.
The hot sugar will stabilize the egg whites all the while cooking them.
The key to success is beginning to pour once the sugar is to temperature and pouring the sugar very slowly into the bowl. If you pour too quickly, you will get hard sugar pockets.
Tip: Do not pour the sugar directly onto the whipping attachment, yet close to the outer rim of the mixing bowl.
Step Three: The Whipped Heavy Cream
Add 1 cup/or 8 oz of heavy cream to a mixer and turn it on to medium-high speed. Option to whip by hand with a whisk and a bowl, or use a handheld kitchen mixer.
Chef Tip: Using cold heavy cream will whip faster than room temperature.
Step Four: Combining The Ingredients
In a large bowl, add the Italian Meringue to the base. Noted, Italian Meringue keeps its incorporated air better than traditional Meringue, Next, add the strawberry puree or flavoring of choice. I used two tablespoons of fresh organic strawberries. Purred them using a Ninja blender for a single serving using five large strawberries. You could smash them up in a small bowl if you do not have a mixer.
Start "Folding" in the heavy cream with the Italian Meringue. Add ⅓ of each ingredient at a time. Work to help preserve the fluffy incorporated air whipped into the egg whites and the whipped cream.
Use a spatula. Start from the bottom, fold over to the top, and keep repeating until everything is combined.
Once nicely combined, full ramekins with the semifreddo. Fill the ramekins to the top, making sure not to press down hard, preserving the whipped air.
🍽 Italian Semifreddo Plating
For a fun garnish, use strawberries. Lay the strawberry on its side. Make five cuts from the top to bottom while keeping the green end intact and connected.
Do you love Strawberries? Check our posts 45 Types of Strawberries | A to Z | Defined | Photos
We are creating textures through the freezing process on the strawberries.
The garnish in action above. How cool is this strawberry garnish?
The frost begins almost instantly to set once you take it out of the freezer, and the frost lasts a good while.
Your guests will likely be done eating before it goes away. So count on it being there for your guest when you serve dessert 🙂
Tip: You can double or triple the recipe by adding or double or triple the ingredients. You could fill a full spring-form pan to make something more significant in size.
Each strawberry overlays a small amount. It makes a really lovely presentation.
👪 Recipes To Try
📖 Recipe Card
- Egg Whites 2
- Heavy Cream 1 cup
- Sugar ½ cup
- Water 2 Tablespoons
- Brown Sugar 1 Tablespoons
- Strawberry Puree (Or Your favorite flavor) 2 Tablespoons
- Gram Crackers (Sprinkle across the top or add to the base of ramekins ) 3
- Making the Italian Meringue: First whip egg whites in an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.Next, melt sugar and water together using a candy thermometer until 240 degrees (softball stage).Slowly pour melted sugar into the mixing bowl with the whipped egg whites on medium speed. Take your time adding the melted sugar so you don't get lumps of hard sugar. Tip: Do not pour the sugar on top of the whipping attachment. Pour closer around the edge of the bowl.Remove the Italian meringue and clean the bowl
- Whipping The Heavy Cream: Add the heavy cream to the mixing bowl and turn it on to medium-high speed. Mix till you get medium peaks. Starting with cold heavy cream is best.
- Mix/combine the Italian meringue with the whipped cream plus the 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree and fold them together. Use ⅓ of the mix each time you add them together. Combine moving from the bottom over the top gently.
- Fill your ramekins or spring-form pan. You will need to double the recipe for a spring-form pan.
- Freezing the Semifreddo: Place in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve with gram cracker topping for a nice texture.