Semifreddi — which literally means ‘semi-frozen’ in Italian — are the ideal make-ahead desserts, perfect for year-round entertaining. They are also known as ‘perfetti’ in Italy, and ‘parfaits’ in France. They can be flavored in countless ways and served with various accompaniments, including sauces and flavored whipped creams. Semifreddi are a nice change from ice cream, and are certainly much easier to make (no ice cream machine or special equipment required).
The base for a semifreddo is generally whipped egg yolks, to which a sugar syrup is added to create an airy, mousse-like mixture. The main flavor is incorporated (e.g. puréed fruit, melted chocolate, liqueur, etc.), and then whipped cream is folded in. The mixture is poured into a mold and then frozen for several hours, until almost firm (it will never freeze solid). The desserts can be frozen in loaf pans, terrines, ramekins or even cone-shaped paper drinking cups. We’ve included a Bittersweet Chocolate Semifreddo (extra-chocolaty, served with a coconut cream), a Chocolate-Hazelnut Semifreddo (made with Nutella), a Green Tea Semifreddo (light and refreshing, served with fresh fruit), a White Chocolate Lemon Semifreddo (an ideal balance between sweet and tart) and a Strawberry Mascarpone Semifreddo (a fresh strawberry purée folded into creamy mascarpone cheese). They may be semi-frozen, but they’re completely good.
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