Espresso Semifreddo

September 1998, The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)

No votes yet

Traditional versions of this elegant dessert — which translates as

Espresso Semifreddo

Makes: 6 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 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


  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.

Tips & Notes

  • 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.


Per serving: 185 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 85 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 0 g fiber; 58 mg sodium; 136 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 1 1/2 fat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner