project semifreddo.

I have no idea when/why I became so ambitious, but I suddenly decided I was going to try to make a healthy version of a semifreddo. For those who have never tried it (or who don’t watch Giada on the Food Network as much as I do), a semifreddo is an Italian dessert that’s basically a frozen custard (it tastes sort of like ice cream cake).  This was a pretty ambitious project for me because a) I’ve never made any semifreddo before, let alone a healthy version, and b) your typical semifreddo involves around 6-8 egg yolks and a cup or two of heavy cream.


The great thing about a semifreddo is that it’s made in advance.  It needs to set in the freezer for at least a few hours, so it’s a great dessert to make if you’re entertaining.  After it’s set in the freezer, you just pop it out and serve it immediately (it melts quickly – so really, immediately!).

I decided to make a coffee-amaretto semifreddo since I had both coffee and almonds at home already, but my favorite semifreddo I’ve ever eaten was hazelnut flavored.  If you’re interested in trying a hazelnut semifreddo, I think you could use this recipe and just swap out the toasted almonds for toasted hazelnuts, and the amaretto liqueur for a hazelnut flavored liqueur (like Frangelico). You could also use a few chopped up Bacci chocolates for the topping – mmm that would be so good! (i.e. I’ll be making this again very soon).

Amaretto Semifreddo

1/2 cup freshly brewed strong coffee at room temperature
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 egg whites
3/4 cup Cool Whip
2 tbsp. amaretto liqueur
1 tsp. cream of tartar
4 tbsp. ice-cold water
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (you can toast them on a sheet pan in the oven for 10 minutes at 350)
nonstick cooking spray

Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, and line the entire pan with about 2 feet of plastic wrap (there should be plastic wrap hanging over all sides of the pan so that it can be folded over the top later).  (Alternatively, you could line 6-8  individual ramekins with plastic wrap for individual sized portions.)

Fill a saucepan (or the bottom of a double-boiler) with about 3/4 inch of water, and bring it to a simmer.  In a heat resistant bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and 1/4 cup of sugar until mixture is blended and smooth.  Place the bowl on top of the saucepan/double boiler making sure that the bowl is not touching the simmering water.  Whisk continuously (ensuring that the egg mixture remains smooth and doesn’t scramble) and slowly add in the coffee.  Keep whisking continuously for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has thickened a bit.  Remove the mixture from the heat. Add amaretto into mixture and then set aside.


Beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, water, and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until firm peaks form (start the mixer on low for about 4 minutes and increase the speed to high for another 4 minutes).


Slowly add the egg white mixture to the coffee mixture.  Carefully fold in the Cool Whip.

Transfer the entire mixture to the loaf pan.  Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the semifreddo so that it is covered completely.


Place the semifreddo the freezer and allow it to set overnight or at least 8 hours.

When you’re ready to serve the semifreddo remove it from the freezer and unfold the plastic wrap from the top.  Invert the loaf pan over a plate/serving platter (and give it a bang).  Completely remove the plastic wrap, garnish with toasted almonds, slice and serve immediately.



  1. Ema says:

    Yum, yum. I’ll have to try it for my next get together

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