Chocolate | Desserts | Italian

Chocolate Semifreddo

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Individual frozen chocolate semifreddo desserts with mascarpone are creamy, cold and luscious treats. Perfect for sharing!

A plate with a spoon holding creamy frozen chocolate semifreddo dessert, topped with soft whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Semifreddo – which literally means “half-cold” in Italian — is a dessert with varied interpretations.

What is semifreddo?

Basically, it’s a creamy frozen mousse, which is sometimes layered with sponge cake or cookies and sometimes flavored with nuts or fresh fruit.

If you love all things cool, creamy and a little indulgent but don’t want to have to go to pastry school to make a special dessert, semifreddo forges a lazy path that might be even better than homemade ice cream.

You get all the benefits of a gelato or frozen custard without hauling out the old ice cream maker.

A plate holding creamy frozen chocolate semifreddo dessert, topped with soft whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Well… not so much lazy as it is a savvy shortcut.

Because while there is no churning involved in the making of this recipe, there is some melting (chocolate), whipping (cream) and folding (together) that needs to be done.

Two plates with spoons holding creamy frozen chocolate semifreddo dessert, topped with soft whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Typically, a semifreddo is set in a loaf pan or deep dish and sliced or scooped family style for serving.

In honor of the Valentine’s Day tradition of shared chocolate desserts (how sweet), I molded this semifreddo in mini springform pans, which makes a neat portion for two to share.

Using the mini springform pans makes it simple to unmold, but an 8-inch springform pan works perfectly, too.

A plate with a spoon holding creamy frozen chocolate semifreddo dessert, topped with soft whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

More easy beautiful desserts:

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Chocolate Semifreddo

Familystyle Food
Creamy, frozen chocolate semifreddo is an easy dessert to make instead of ice cream – no churning or fuss and totally delicious.
Each 4-inch dessert is the perfect size for sharing with your sweetie. You can also make this extra luscious with a side of warm chocolate sauce!
Print Pin
4.34 from 6 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Inactive Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 25 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

For crust:
For filling:
  • 2 tablespoons (90 g) plus ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 ounces (125 g) dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) cocoa powder
  • 4 egg yolks *
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup (170 g) mascarpone cheese
  • Chocolate shavings and freshly whipped cream to garnish

Instructions 

Make the crust:
  • Heat oven to 350 ( 175 C) degrees. Pulse the cookies, sugar and salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is moistened and holds together when you pinch it. Press about 2 tablespoons crumbs onto the bottoms of each of four 4 x 1 ¾-inch (or use one 8-inch springform pan). Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake 5 minutes.
Make the filling
  • Put 2 tablespoons of the sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the water simmers and sugar is dissolved; add the chocolate and cocoa off the heat and stir until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and cool 10 minutes.
  • Beat the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar with an electric mixer and the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light colored and thickened enough to form a ribbon, about 5 minutes. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the cooled chocolate until evenly blended, then transfer to another bowl.
  • Wash and dry the mixer bowl. Add the cream and mascarpone and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
Assemble
  • Divide the mixture among the 4 pans (or one 8 inch pan, scrape it all in). Cover pans with plastic wrap and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • Remove semifreddo from the freezer 15-30 minutes before serving, depending on how firm it is. Unmold and serve with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings over the top, if you like.

Notes

Note: The egg yolks in the recipe are not cooked —you can use pasteurized eggs if you have concerns about using raw eggs.
Inspired by a recipe in Dolce Italiano 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 934kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 80g | Saturated Fat: 39g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 322mg | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 67g | Vitamin A: 2496IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food!

15 Comments

  1. Oh my heavens, Karen~!! I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the picture of the dessert — with My Mother’s Spoon — from a very old set~!!!! I am looking at mine now~!!! I got chills — she loved this set and I ‘inherited’ it when she passed in ’92~!! Now I have to make this dessert — and put my spoon beside it — and eat it with it~!! Thank you for the recipe and the wonderful memories~!! ;+}

    Wonderful website~!!!!

  2. When I made this the chocolate did not get smooth when mixed with the egg yolk mixture, so there were little chunks of chocolate in the mousse. I can not figure out what went wrong.

    1. That’s a great question, Vanessa. The answer is no, the egg yolks don’t get cooked in this recipe. If you’d feel more comfortable, go ahead and use pasteurized eggs. I’m going to add a note to the recipe, too. Thanks!

  3. I’m always looking for recipes that are LIKE ice creams or gelatos but without the machine (since I don’t quite have the money!). I haven’t heard of a semifreddo before but it looks and sounds gorgeous! I just need some cream…

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