How to Make A Basic Semi-Freddo Frozen Treat
Semi-freddo, meaning half-cold, is an Italian dessert which is similar to ice-cream. Making semi-freddo does not require you to make a custard base nor to churn until frozen, so it's really very simple to create a great dessert. Made from combining cream, egg whites and flavourings, semi-freddo has the texture of a frozen mousse. There are infinite variations you can create, using your favourite flavours.
Below, I have given you a basic semi-freddo recipe which can be adapted using the ingredients of your choice. I have also given my favourite recipe - raspberry and honey semi-freddo. I actually use Elmlea rather than cream - this is a lower fat alternative available in the UK. It works fine, but if you prefer to use cream, that's okay.
A word of caution - this recipe uses raw egg whites. There are certain vulnerable groups including pregnant women, the elderly and young children, for whom raw egg whites may be unsuitable. You could use pasteurised liquid egg whites instead. I always ensure that the eggs I use are as fresh as possible and come from a reputable source.
Prep and freezing time
Ingredients - basic recipe
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 pint heavy cream, or low-fat alternative
- 1/4 cup caster / superfine sugar
- 1 tsp good vanilla extract
To make the semi-freddo
- Gather together your ingredients. You will need two mixing bowls, a spatula, measuring cups and an electric mixer to whisk. Line a 9 inch by 3 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, making sure to leave plenty at either side as you will use this to cover up the semi-freddo.
- Separate the eggs and put the whites into a bowl. You won't need the yolks for this recipe, but you could refrigerate for a day or so and use them in another recipe.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla until the cream thickens. Take care here - you don't want the cream to turn to butter. My tip is to whisk at high speed until the cream begins to thicken and then reduce the whisking speed until you get the desired consistency - a soft whipped cream.
- Now fold the egg whites into the cream, taking care not to deflate them.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan and cover over with the excess plastic wrap. Pop into the freezer and leave for a minimum of four hours.
- When ready to serve, cut into slices. I like to serve with a caramel sauce or fresh fruit - you will need something to cut through the richness of the semi-freddo.
Other Suggested Flavourings
The recipe is so simple to adapt. Here are some other ideas you could try. Simply create the basic recipe and add in the flavourings before folding in the egg whites:
Whisky cream semi-freddo (made using Baileys or Heather Cream).
Mango and passion fruit semi-freddo
Chocolate semi-freddo (using melted, tempered chocolate)
Pistachio semi-freddo (fold chopped pistachios into the cream)
Raspberry and Honey Semi-Freddo
This is one of my favourite desserts. All you need to do is follow the instructions above but add 2 tablespoons of runny honey and 1 cup of fresh raspberries to the cream along with the sugar and vanilla and then whisk until the cream thickens.
The raspberries will be broken up and dispersed throughout the mixture. If you'd prefer whole raspberries, simply fold these into the mix before adding the egg whites. I like to serve this with a few fresh raspberries.