Jun 20, 2014

Coffee semifreddo

Cold, creamy, thick cappuccino that you slice with a knife and serve on a plate...

Coffee semifreddo 
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
time: 20 min preparation + 8-12 hr inactive

4 oz (112 g) amaretti cookies
3 Tablespoons (45 g) butter, melted
5 egg yolks
1/3 cups (80 g) sugar

1 pinch fine salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) espresso, cooled

1 cup (240 ml) whipping cream
2 Tablespoons (20 g) powder sugar

According to my Dad, a retired veterinarian, to kill salmonella that, if present, would live on the outside of the egg, just put eggs for about 10 seconds in hot/boiling water. And that's how I do it.

Line a standard 28cm/11cm loaf form with parchment paper. To line a form: I cut a piece of paper larger than the form, crush it between my hands, soak it under water, squeeze the water out, shake (gently) the paper to open and line the form.

Prepare crust: In a food processor with steel blades, crush cookies till almost fine. Add melted butter and blend till all greased. Line the bottom of the form with the cookie mix, without pressing. Put in the fridge. 

Prepare two large/medium pots, one with almost simmering water (on the stove top) and one with ice water (off the stove top).

Using a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs yolks, salt and espresso gradually adding sugar, on medium speed, till foamy.  Place the bowl on top of the pot with not quite simmering water and, using a bubble whisk, continue beating till temperature reaches 160F/71C (about 5 minutes).  Now, transfer the bowl with yolk mix on top of ice water and keep whisking till eggs are completely chilled (about 5 minutes).

In a separate bowlbeat the whipping cream till stiff (rather than soft) peaks form. Using a chilled bowl and a a bubble whip instead of a mixer, improves you chances of a perfect whipped cream. Using a rubber spatula, fold in powder sugar. Then slowly incorporate the cream into the chilled coffee/egg mix. 

Pour it all into the form, on top of amaretti crust. Fold the overhanging paper to cover the dessert. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 8 - 12 hours and up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, unfold the paper, flip the form upside down, release the dessert. Take the paper off, slice and enjoy.

  • Giada had 8 large eggs in her semifreddo and a couple of spoons of Marsala wine;
  • I don't think she beat the eggs as much as I did; 
  • I had a lot of foam which turned creamy after heating/cooling process but still, there was volume;
  • all good volume, light and delicious;
  • when frozen, it was even better; 
  • serving suggestion: the serving plater should be ice-cold, from the freezer; the dessert melts fast especially when it's hot outside.


  1. I love the flavor of coffee in desserts! This looks delightful and perfect to cool off with in the summer.

  2. Your semifreddo looks wonderful, Ela. Love the amaretti cookies as a base.

  3. I love coffee! And I love adding it to desserts or whatever! This looks so so good ... especially with that crust!

  4. This looks great! I like that there's a crust to add some crunch!

  5. Ilove coffe in desserts.
    This semifredo look delicious Ela!

  6. Mmh, that looks like summer on a plate.
    Love the coffee flavor of this semi freddo and the little crust to add an interesting touch.

  7. Ela, I would order this in a restaurant it looks so good!

  8. Though I am not a coffee drinker, I do LOVE food flavoured or made with coffee. This looks super, Ela.

  9. I love coffee flavored desserts - especially in ice cream :) This looks so good and the amaretti crust sounds delightful!

  10. Beautiful coffee semifreddo, I love coffee flavour in desserts!

  11. This is beautiful, semifreddo is perfect for this time of year.

  12. Exquisite! This sounds/looks wonderful. A great summer treat.



  13. Wow, just like cappucino with an amarreti on the side...what a great idea. Looks delicious.

  14. This is a great adult dessert for sure :) love it so much but there is something that I do not get you said ' beat eggs yolks, salt and espresso gradually adding sugar' and then " Fold cold espresso into the eggs." so does this mean that I should divide the cold espresso or what? forgive me dear, I am watching the US-Por soccer game now and it is 0-1 :( may be I am not concentrating enough!!!!?

    1. Thanks, Amira. My bad... corrected now. You beat eggs together with the espresso. Oh, men 2:2 in the game, not bad! :)

  15. Hi Ela, I have never really paid attention to the semifreddo before, you have got me thinking about it big time with you last few posts, looks delicious!

  16. I love love love coffee in desserts and this is so gorgeous! Honestly such a unique dessert that I really want to bring to a party to show off :)

  17. A perfect ending to a summer meal…light and refreshing.

  18. I'm a huge lover of coffee flavored desserts. This semifreddo looks so refreshing! Great for summer.

  19. I could eat this whole thing :) I so want to try this this summer, it would be perfect for the heat we are having, yum!

  20. I love, love love this I get to eat my coffee as well as drink it, heaven :D