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What is semifreddo?

Tim Tam Semifreddo

Ice cream, gelato and frozen yogurt all show up regularly at shops and restaurants but semifreddo is another delicious frozen dessert that might be a little less familiar. Semifreddo – which translates to “half cold/frozen” -  is a dessert that falls halfway between mousse and ice cream, with the consistency of a frozen mousse and the flavor of ice cream. It is much lighter than ice cream and melts on your tongue very quickly, giving the impression you just ate the lightest dessert imaginable.

It is usually made by folding whipped cream into a thicker base containing all of the flavorings for the semifreddo. That base could be a thick custard (similar to a regular ice cream base) that has been lightened with egg whites or a much airier meringue. Once mixed, the mixture is poured into a large tin and frozen for a few hours until it solidifies. The semifreddo can then be scooped and served, although it is often sliced for serving because its light texture makes cutting through it with a knife very simple. A semifreddo can be flavored with just about anything, from fruit to chocolate to nuts.

The big advantage of a semifreddo is that it requires no special equipment to make one. They come together quickly and can be served within a few hours. They also keep very well in the freezer, so while they’re great for entertaining, you can also make a batch for yourself and enjoy it over the course of a week or so.

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  • Megan
    August 6, 2010

    This sounds delicious! It reminds me of a frozen lemonade pie I make with whipped heavy cream folded into sweetened condensed milk and lemonade concentrate. You pour that into a graham cracker crust and then freeze and slice. It was quite delicious and nice and light with the illusion of eating ice cream!

  • Adena
    August 6, 2010

    I can’t wait to try this. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a recipe included, until I clicked the link. We don’t have Tim Tam cookies where I live so I will find something else. Love gelato.

  • Kelley Fountain
    August 7, 2010

    I just saw that the winner of the Food Network Magazine Peanut Contest made a peanut butter banana semifreddo.
    I had never heard of it before and now twice in one week.
    Sounds interesting.

  • Susan
    August 2, 2014

    Thanks so much for this! Linking from my blog!

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