Espresso Semifreddo

Espresso Semifreddo

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From: EatingWell Magazine September 1998

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.

Ingredients 1 serving

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  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup strong brewed espresso, (or dark-roast coffee) or 3 tablespoons instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/3 cup boiling water, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 3 large egg whites)
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts


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  1. 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.
  2. 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 °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.
  3. 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.
  4. Whip cream in the chilled mixing bowl (no need to wash meringue from beaters) until soft peaks form.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Before serving, toast hazelnuts at 350 °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 information

  • Per serving: 180 calories; 7 g fat(3 g sat); 0 g fiber; 23 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 12 mcg folate; 77 mg cholesterol; 21 g sugars; 226 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 23 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 58 mg sodium; 137 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 1 1/2 fat

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