Lemon semifreddo

Karen Martini
Keep your cool with lemon semifreddo.
Keep your cool with lemon semifreddo. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Semifreddo is a classic Italian dessert and though it's a lot like ice-cream, you don't need a churn to make it. The whipped cream and egg whites lighten the mix and stop it freezing solid, giving it a luscious creamy texture. This bright, lemony version is perfect with fresh or poached fruit.


4 large organic lemons, or use unwaxed

4 large (70g) organic eggs, separated

250g castor sugar

150ml pouring cream, 35 per cent fat

100ml double cream

pinch of salt


1. Line a square tin (about 21cm to 25cm) with cling film - you could also use a loaf tin or terrine mould.

2. Finely zest three of the lemons and juice all four - you will need about 200ml of juice. Mix the zest with the juice.

3. In a stand mixer, beat the yolks and sugar until pale, about eight minutes.

4. Scoop the mix into a large bowl and place over a pan of simmering water (being careful not to touch the water with the bowl) and whisk continuously to cook out the egg yolks, about five minutes. Take the bowl off the heat and whisk continuously until cool.

5. Once the mix has cooled, mix through the juice and zest until incorporated.

6. Lightly beat the pouring cream. Fold the double cream into the whipped cream and then fold this into the yolk and lemon mix.

7. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks, then fold them through the lemon mix and pour into the lined tin and freeze until firm, about six hours or preferably overnight.

8. To serve, cut into thick slices, dust with icing sugar and drizzle with simple lemon syrup or serve with strawberries or poached tamarillos.

Tip: To make a simple lemon syrup, in a small pot over a medium heat, dissolve sugar in an equal quantity of water. Take off the heat, drop in some fine lemon zest and chill for a couple of hours before using.

Drink: Botrytis riesling