How to Make a Basic Semi-Freddo Frozen Treat

Updated on February 10, 2020
alliemacb profile image

I love trying out new dessert recipes and sharing my findings. Turns out many fancy sweets aren't nearly as hard to make as I once thought!

Homemade Semi-Freddo Dessert
Homemade Semi-Freddo Dessert | Source

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

Prep time: 6 min
Cook time: 3 hours
Ready in: 3 hours 6 min
Yields: Serves 6 to 8 people
5 stars from 2 ratings of Semi-freddo with raspberry and honey

Ingredients (Basic Recipe)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 pint heavy cream, or low-fat alternative
  • 1/4 cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

How to Make Semi-Freddo

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. 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.
  5. Now fold the egg whites into the cream, taking care not to deflate them.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Raspberry and Honey Semi-Freddo Variation

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.

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)
  • Strawberry semi-freddo
  • Mango and passion fruit semi-freddo
  • Chocolate semi-freddo (using melted, tempered chocolate)
  • Pistachio semi-freddo (fold chopped pistachios into the cream)

For the basic recipe, you will need eggs, cream, sugar and good vanilla extract.
For the basic recipe, you will need eggs, cream, sugar and good vanilla extract. | Source
Whisk the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it thickens.
Whisk the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it thickens. | Source
Add in your egg whites—beaten to stiff peaks—and fold in carefully.
Add in your egg whites—beaten to stiff peaks—and fold in carefully. | Source
Transfer to your loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, cover over and put into the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours.
Transfer to your loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, cover over and put into the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours. | Source

Which do you prefer?

See results

© 2012 alliemacb


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    7 years ago

    This sounds so good - I've made a dessert similar to this and added jello- this sounds so good - thanks for the basic recipe (my wheels are turning with possibilities)

  • Amy Gillie profile image

    Amy Gillie 

    7 years ago from Indiana

    I have never tried semi-freddo, but I'm a lover of all cold desserts. I'm definitely trying this!!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

    Marcy Goodfleisch 

    7 years ago from Planet Earth

    Oh, YUM! I've never heard of this, but it sounds wonderful. I love ice cream and other frozen desserts. It also sounds easy to make. Just one question - I'm still not sure what caster sugar is? We have 'powdered' sugar in the U.S., and there's also a 'fine' sugar, but it's not what I'd call 'superfine.' Any idea what it might be labeled here?

    Voted up - and I want to try this one!

  • LaThing profile image


    7 years ago from From a World Within, USA

    Thanks! Will try it in the freezer..... :)

  • alliemacb profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Scotland

    To be honest, I'm not keen on it with pasteurised egg whites but my brother says there's no difference so it may just be me being fussy.

  • alliemacb profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Scotland

    Hi. It's meant to be in the freezer. I'll go back and check that. Thanks

  • denisemai profile image

    Denise Mai 

    7 years ago from Idaho

    Oh, wow. How timely is this? I've always wondered what a semi-freddo is. I've heard it referred to on cooking shows like Top Chef and Chopped but have never seen it done. This sounds like the perfect summer dessert. Does it work as well with the pasteurized egg whites? My 7 year old niece, who has just finished battling cancer, is coming to stay with me starting today and I'm afraid of giving her anything that could endanger her health. I'm pretty sure she would love this dessert, though! And--love helping me make it. I gave this a 5-star rating and I'm sharing!!

  • LaThing profile image


    7 years ago from From a World Within, USA

    This sounds delicious! Is it supposed to be left in the refrigerator or the freezer? Maybe, that's a typo..... I am going to try it for sure! Thanks for the info.... Voting up, useful and awesome!


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