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. Source: EatingWell Magazine, September 1998

EatingWell Test Kitchen


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

180 calories; 7.2 g total fat; 3.2 g saturated fat; 77 mg cholesterol; 58 mg sodium. 137 mg potassium; 22.6 g carbohydrates; 0.2 g fiber; 21 g sugar; 4.5 g protein; 226 IU vitamin a iu; 12 mcg folate; 23 mg calcium; 19 mg magnesium;