Lemon Semifreddo…The Best Lemon Dessert Ever!

Semifreddo is Italian for half-cold, and its name refers to desserts made from whipped cream mixed in equal amounts with either ice cream or frozen custard.  Semifreddos can be made at home without using an ice cream maker simply by chilling homemade custard in the freezer. When the whipped cream is added, air is incorporated, which keeps the semifreddo from freezing solid again. The taste and texture can be compared to mousse, and it absolutely MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH!

I’m lucky enough to have a Meyer lemon tree growing in my backyard, so I used the juice from these lemons which is a little more mellow than a regular lemon.  If you love lemons, you’re going to LOVE this tart, creamy and intensely lemony dessert!  It’s sweet and fresh-tasting, and the berries are a perfect complement to the lemony custard. It’s a great summertime dessert perfect for entertaining!

Lemon Semifreddo

Lemon Semifreddo with Summer Berries

adapted from Bon Appetit

Yield: 8-10 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 3/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mixed fresh berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and quartered hulled strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup Gran Marnier or other orange liqueur


Line a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, being sure to leave a generous amount of overhang. Sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the bottom of the pan. Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, then refrigerate while making custard.

Whisk the sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt in large metal bowl to blend. Set the bowl over alarge saucepan of simmering water, and whisk constantly until the yolk mixture is thick and fluffy and instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 170°F, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from over simmering water. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until cool, thick, and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes. Fold in chilled whipped cream, and transfer mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth top. Tap loaf pan lightly on work surface to remove air pockets, then fold the plastic wrap overhang over the top to cover. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight. DO AHEAD: Semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen. Gently mix all berries and orange liqueur in large bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Unfold plastic wrap from top of semifreddo and invert dessert onto platter; remove plastic wrap. Dip heavy large knife into hot water; cut semifreddo crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Transfer to plates; spoon berries alongside and serve.


5 Responses

  1. This is amazing delicious. All who were at our dinner party said it was one of the best deserts they had ever eaten.

  2. Hi! Your semifreddo recipe was nominated as one of the “Best 300 Semifreddo Recipes on the Net”. To vote for it, please visit http://easyitalianrecipes.org/dessert-recipes/best-300-italian-semifreddo-recipes-on-the-net-vote-for-your-favorite/ – your recipe is positioned at #150 (random order).

  3. Sounds and looks fabulous!

  4. One of my very favorite summertime desserts! Yummy, without being too heavy.

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