The Washington Post

Summer Fruit Semifreddo

Summer Fruit Semifreddo 8.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jul 30, 2021

Not quite an ice cream, a semifreddo is a frozen dessert that skips the ice cream maker altogether. Versions and processes differ, but this incarnation contains no custard base. Whipped egg whites — never cooked but kept lofty and glossy with the addition of cream of tartar — stand in for the often-used cooked Swiss meringue (egg whites and sugar slowly cooked over a hot water bath). The result is a light, airy dessert that requires less effort and less equipment, and that takes advantage of summer’s best bounty: ripe, ephemeral fruit. The semifreddo pictured was made with fresh apricots, but try it with other stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, plums or cherries; or even berries, such as blackberries or raspberries.

Active time: 40 mins; Total time: 1 hour 20 mins, plus at least 8 hours’ freezing time.

Make Ahead: The semifreddo needs to be made at least 8 hours before you plan to serve it.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be re-wrapped tightly and returned to the freezer. The semifreddo will taste best if eaten within 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • 6 cups (about 2 pounds/900 grams) fruit, such as whole berries or quartered and pitted stone fruit (apricots, plums, peaches or nectarines), see NOTES
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided (see NOTES)
  • 5 large egg whites or 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) pasteurized liquid egg whites (see NOTES)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch of fine sea or table salt
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Spray the inside of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the inside of the loaf pan with two large pieces of plastic wrap, crisscrossing and allowing for enough overhang to completely cover the top of the pan once the semifreddo is poured into it. (If you want your finished semifreddo to be wrinkle-free, smooth out the plastic wrap as much as possible.)

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, combine the fruit with 1/3 cup (66 grams) sugar (or, if using sour cherries, 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, see NOTES), toss to coat the fruit and spread out the mixture in an even layer. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until the juices run and the fruit is soft.

Transfer the cooked fruit to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve fitted over a bowl or large measuring cup, pressing on the solids with a flexible spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

When the fruit puree is cool, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a large bowl and a handheld mixer) combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and the remaining 2/3 cup (134 grams) sugar and beat on medium-high speed until medium-stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy, about 2 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl.

In the same bowl you used to whip the egg whites (you don’t need to clean it), combine the heavy cream and vanilla, and beat the mixture on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly fold the whipped egg whites, one-third at a time, into the whipped cream until fully integrated.

Measure 1 cup (172 grams) of the puree, cover and refrigerate. Scoop a little, approximately 1/4 cup, of the egg white-cream mixture into the puree and stir it to combine. Then, gently fold the puree into the egg white-cream mixture until mostly combined but some streaks remain. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spoon or offset spatula. Cover with the plastic wrap overhang and transfer to the freezer until firm and frozen, at least 8 hours.

Invert the semifreddo onto a serving platter, peel off the plastic wrap and cut into 1 1/2-inch slabs. Remove the remaining fruit puree from the refrigerator and drizzle it over the slices; wait 3 to 5 minutes before serving, or until the semifreddo is soft enough to eat with a spoon.

NOTES: This recipe calls for raw egg whites; if you are concerned about the risk of salmonella, buy pasteurized eggs, such as Organic Valley, Bob Evans or Davidson’s brand. If using these, bring them to room temperature and note they can take as long as 13 minutes to reach medium-stiff peaks.

If using sour cherries, you will need to pit the cherries as well as use an additional 2/3 cup (134 grams) granulated sugar, for a total of 1 2/3 cups (334 grams) granulated sugar.

If your semifreddo has too many wrinkles, run a spoon or offset spatula under warm water and run it over the exterior of the loaf to smooth it.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Hannah Selinger.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (one 1 1/2-inch thick slice, using apricots) : 267

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 12g 18%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 41mg 14%

Sodium: 84mg 4%

Total Carbohydrates: 39g 13%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 36g

Protein: 5g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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