“Semi-freddo” means half-cold but spoiler-alert, it’s just as cold as any other frozen dessert. Frozen is frozen, right? You can’t call a semifreddo ice cream because you’re technically not making a crème Anglais with egg yolks, the traditional base of any true ice cream recipe. A classic semifreddo is just as creamy as ice cream, though (there is whipping cream in there so it’s no wonder it’s creamy) but I find it lighter than ice cream – similar to an Italian Gelato or a frozen mousse.
A semifreddo is basically the easiest dessert to make. I know I always say that, but this time I really, really mean it. All you need is time, basically, because it needs time to freeze. Make it in the morning, put it in the freezer and your semifreddo will be ready for your dinner party. It’s ridiculously easy and equally as impressive – trust me! It’s super transportable too — bring it along in the loaf pan!
Please note that this recipe contains raw egg whites – and there are certain groups of people for whom raw egg whites may not be suitable – pregnant women, very young children and the elderly. I use the highest quality and freshest eggs possible when making a semifreddo.
Decorating your semifreddo is completely up to you. I kept it simple and used chopped chocolate, crumbled amaretti cookies and cherries (basically all my add-ins).
If it’s not cherry season and you can’t find fresh cherries, you can easily use frozen cherries or even dried cherries. You can also skip the fruit and replace it with toasted almonds. That is the nice thing about a semifreddo – it is perfectly customizable.
I dare you to only have one slice!
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure almond extract
- ⅓ cup amaretto liqueur
- ¾ roughly chopped dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup Italian Amaretti cookies, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup sweet dark cherries, fresh or frozen, coarsely chopped
- Line a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, making sure to leave an extra overhang of plastic wrap at both sides as you will use this to cover up the semi-freddo and it will also help you remove the semifreddo from the loaf pan once it’s frozen.
- Separate the eggs, put the whites into a bowl. (Cover up the yolks and store them in your fridge for a day or two and use them for another recipe). Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar, Amaretto liqueur and almond extract until the cream becomes whipped cream. You don’t want the cream to separate so be careful -- Start off by whisking at a high speed until the cream begins to get thick and then lower the whisking speed until you get a soft whipped cream.
- Pour the whipped egg whites into the bowl with the whipped cream and gently fold the egg whites into the cream.
- Pour the mixture into your plastic-wrap-lined loaf pan and cover the top of the semifreddo with the excess plastic wrap. Put into the freezer (on a levelled shelf) and leave to get frozen for a minimum of five hours.
- When you’re ready to serve your semifreddo, invert it onto a flat plate, discard the plastic wrap and top it with chocolate and cookie pieces as well as extra cherries. Cut it into slices and serve it immediately.