Vanilla Semifreddo with Strawberry Sauce

If you know me, you know that I appreciate all things Italian. The culture, the country, the language and of course the food. The Italians are well-known for taking simple ingredients and making them shine. Simplicity is the key in Italian food and I really appreciate that. They somehow carry that mentality to desserts as well, which is hard to imagine. While many want to overcomplicate desserts, the Italians say "no way!" They want simple ingredients to shine. They want smaller portions and lighter desserts. Semifreddo is a great example of that. Semifreddo literally translates to "semi-frozen." That's what semifreddo is.  It's a half-frozen mousse. Much lighter than ice cream, but with the same creaminess. It's very easy to make and very versatile. You can flavor a semifreddo pretty much anyway you'd like. You can also serve it anyway you'd like. Me, I decided to not overcomplicate it. I made a vanilla semifreddo and served it with strawberry sauce and a few fresh strawberries. The next day, I made a fresh strawberry compote. I served it slightly warm and oh my gosh was it delicious. The cold and warm contrast in desserts always works best. What I'm saying is, flavor and serve as you please! Learn the technique and have some fun with it.

Make sure you have your eggs at room temperature and your heavy cream cold. Having your ingredients at the proper temperature is always important in executing desserts. Grease a loaf pan and line the loaf pan with plastic wrap with a little overhang. Place in freezer.


Separate your eggs. You'll only use ⅓ cup of the egg whites for this recipe. Reserve the rest for another recipe or discard the rest. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together your egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar and vanilla extract and vanilla beans if using, with a whisk or hand beater until lighter yellow and thickened. With a hand mixer, it'll take about 2-3 minutes. With a whisk it'll take about five minutes. Place the heat-proof bowl over simmering pot of water and continue to whisk for about 3 minutes until volume is about doubled. Take it off the heat and whisk for another minute.


Zest in the lemon zest and whisk in.


In a stand mixer, whisk the cream of tartar and egg whites on high speed. When tracks begin to form, gradually add in the other ¼ cup sugar. Continue to whisk on high speed until a moist, shiny, firm stiff peak forms.


Fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture gently.


Without cleaning the bowl or whisk, pour in the heavy cream and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.


Fold in the whipped cream into the mousse mixture.


Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and pour the mousse gently into the pan and slightly flatten the top. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.


After 4 hours.


Dip the pan in hot water for about 10 seconds and use an offset to unmold the semifreddo.


You can serve the semifreddo with any kind of berry, compote or sauce.





Vanilla Semifreddo with Strawberry Sauce

Yield: 8

Vanilla semifreddo


  • Semifreddo
  • Vegetable Oil, for greasing the pan
  • 4 extra-large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Strawberry Sauce
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • ⅛ cup sugar
  • zest and juice from one small lemon


    Lightly oil an 8 x 4 x 2" loaf pan and line it with plastic wrap, allowing enough to drape over
    the sides.

Place the pan in the freezer.

Put the egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds in a medium heat-proof bowl. Beat
with a hand-held mixer for two minutes or with a whisk for five minutes until light yellow and thickened.

Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat continually for three minutes until doubled in

Beat mixture off the heat for one minute.

In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and cream of tartar and begin whipping on
high speed.

When tracks form, gradually add in the sugar. Beat until firm, moist peaks form.

Fold the egg white into the egg yolk mixture gently with a rubber spatula.

Without washing mixer or whisk, pour in the cold heavy cream and whip on high speed until soft peaks
are formed.

Fold in the whipped cream gently.

Pour the mousse mixture into the loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least four

To unmold, dip the pan in hot water for 10 seconds and then, turn the semifreddo upside down.

Serve with any berry or sauce.


Combine all ingredients over medium-high heat until juices from berries start to come out.

If you'd like a smooth sauce then blend with an immersion blender and sieve. For a compote, leave as is.

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