Thursday, June 4, 2009

vanilla semifreddo

for mother's day this year, we took the mom to Lucques for lunch. the meal was a delight as always and we finished it off with the semifreddo w/ acacia honey & berries. it was so good we were really close to licking the plate clean!

semifreddo a la Lucques...
if you're familiar with Suzanne Goin's cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, you know that she has her recipes categorized by season and then organized in menus. each menu offers a starter, 2 choices for a main w/ sides and a dessert. while i was looking up the Green Rice recipe the other day, i was pleasantly suprised to find her semifreddo recipe as part of the same menu.

semifreddo, an italian word, literally means "partially frozen." the whipped eggs make it light and the whipped cream prevents it from freezing completely. this semi-frozen dessert is like a frozen creamy custard. basically, it's like crazy bananas good!! it's a great alternative to making homemade ice cream if you don't have an ice cream maker.

mise en place

vanilla semifreddo
adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
serves 6-8
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of vanilla powder or 1/2 vanilla bean
3 eggs separated

lightly oil a 9" loaf pan (or any mold of your choice) and line it with plastic wrap. try to smooth it out as much as you can and let the excess plastic drape over the sides.

whip the cream until stiff peaks form. cover and chill while you prepare the other parts.

whip together the egg yolks, vanilla powder (or seeds if using a bean), vanilla extract and half of the sugar, until the mixture is thick, pale and doubled in volume and set aside.

whip the egg whites until frothy. slowly add the remaining sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture. once they are well combined, gently fold in the whipped egg whites, a third at a time. you want to do this as gently as possible yet as quick as possible until the mixture is all well combined.

pour the mixture into the mold and tap the pan on the counter 3 times to ensure the mixture is settled and even. place a pieces of plastic wrap over the pan, touching the mixture and smooth it out.
freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. here's where your patience comes into play.

when its ready, it will be frozen yet soft enough to easily yield to a knife.
of course, you can just take a spoon and dig in...

...or invert the semifreddo onto a platter, slice it up and serve drizzled with honey and fresh berries!

bon appétit~!


  1. I love your photos and I love your blog!!

  2. your version looks better than lucques. thanks for sharing!

  3. I love frozen, or in this case semi-frozen desserts! I cannot wait to try this recipe. Great blog, by the way. Love the pictures.

  4. Natalia...☮♥☺7/22/09, 3:10 PM

    This looks like a really great recipe! And to top it off im going to layer the top with crushed oreo cookies;...YUM! this is a really helpful, amazing blog. I tried looking up other semi freddo recipes and they were straight up confusing! THANKS A BUNCH!!!!

  5. This is my first visit to your blog, but it won't be the last! I can't wait to try this......

  6. Thanks for the recipe, I don't like desserts but I like to cook. I always cook desserts but at the end it finish in the stomach of my neighboars haha

  7. hello i would like to read more about this interesting topic.

  8. best ever vanilla semifreddo. for presentation, I cut 25 cm x 25 cm pieces of wax paper, folded diagonally, shaped into a cone & fastened at the top with a stapler. put cones standing up in a water glass, fill with semifreddo (below stapler level), then freeze. peel off the wax paper. I put these "cones" standing on a plate with fresh fruit & mini individual jugs of raspberry coulis.

  9. Hi! Your semifreddo recipe was nominated as one of the "Best 300 Semifreddo Recipes on the Net". To vote for it, please visit - your recipe is positioned at #108 (random order).