Traditional versions of this elegant dessert--which translates as “half cold”--rely on lots of whipped cream for the light texture; here a fluffy cooked meringue does the job equally well.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September 1998


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Fill a large saucepan or Dutch oven with 1 inch water and bring to a simmer for Step 3. Place a small mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.

  • Whisk whole eggs and 1/4 cup sugar in a heavy, medium, nonreactive saucepan until smooth. Whisk in espresso (or coffee). Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F, about 10 minutes. (Do not let the mixture come to a simmer.) Remove from the heat and whisk in liqueur and vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

  • Combine reconstituted egg whites, cold water, cream of tartar and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Set the bowl over (not in) the barely simmering water and beat with a hand-held electric mixer at low speed for 4 to 5 minutes. Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating for 3 minutes more. The meringue should hold firm peaks. Remove from the heat and continue beating until cool and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

  • Whip cream in the chilled mixing bowl (no need to wash meringue from beaters) until soft peaks form.

  • Whisk one-fourth of the meringue into the cooled coffee mixture. Using the whisk, fold in remaining meringue. With a rubber spatula, fold in whipped cream.

  • Divide the mixture among six 3/4-cup metal molds (see Tip) or spoon into an 8-by-4-inch metal loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.

  • Before serving, toast hazelnuts at 350 degrees F until fragrant, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, microwave hazelnuts on high for 4 minutes, stirring twice.) Let cool. Dip bottoms of molds or pan in hot water for a few seconds, then invert onto chilled dessert plates or a serving platter. Garnish with hazelnuts and serve.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6. Freeze well-wrapped for up to 1 week.

To successfully unmold the semifreddo, it is important to use metal molds. If you have only glass or ceramic ramekins, simply serve directly from them.

Storage smarts: For long-term freezer storage, wrap your food in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. The plastic will help prevent freezer burn while the foil will help keep off-odors from seeping into the food.

Nutrition Facts

179.6 calories; protein 4.5g 9% DV; carbohydrates 22.6g 7% DV; exchange other carbs 1.5; dietary fiber 0.2g 1% DV; sugars 20.5g; fat 7.2g 11% DV; saturated fat 3.2g 16% DV; cholesterol 76.8mg 26% DV; vitamin a iu 225.6IU 5% DV; vitamin c 0.3mg; folate 11.9mcg 3% DV; calcium 23.2mg 2% DV; iron 0.5mg 3% DV; magnesium 19.5mg 7% DV; potassium 137.2mg 4% DV; sodium 58.1mg 2% DV; thiaminmg 3% DV.