Pistachio, Strawberry, & Vanilla Semifreddo

Semifreddo means semi frozen in Italian and is a great way to make a frozen dessert without using an ice cream maker.  This dessert is really visually beautiful and has several different textures making it stimulating to eat.  It does take a fair amount of time as each layer needs to completely freeze before the next can be added.  But as most of this is down time, once you get all the layers pre made the real work is done.




  • 150g shelled unsalted / unroasted pistachios
  • 252g sugar (divided)
  • 250g whole milk (divided)
  • 1.5g vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 115g hulled strawberries
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1.5g Kosher salt
  • 320g heavy whipping cream


Pistachio Base

  • Line a loaf pan with 2 layers of plastic wrap leaving overhang on all sides
  • Grind the pistachios and 26g of sugar in a food processor until very finely chopped.


  • Transfer to a small saucepan, add 125g whole milk, bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
  • Add the almond extract then set aside

Pistachio Semifreddo

Vanilla Base

  • Place remaining 125g whole milk in a saucepan and scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pod.  Add the vanilla pod, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

Vanilla Semifreddo

  • Strain out the vanilla pod and chill mixture

Strawberry Base

  • Grind the strawberries and 26g of sugar in a food processor until smooth.  Place in a bowl, add vanilla extract, and set aside

Strawberry Semifreddo


  • Whisk eggs, salt, and remaining 200g of sugar in a metal bowl
  • Place bowl over a pot of simmering water ensuring the bottom does not touch the bowl
  • Beat the mixture at high speed until it triples in volume and an instant read thermometer shows 170°F (about 3 minutes)

Whipped Egg for Semifreddo

  • Remove the bowl from over the water and continue beating until the mixture is cool (about 3 minutes).  Add one third of the egg mixture to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla bases.  Fold just to blend.
  • Beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form.  Add one third to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla bases.  Fold just to blend.
  • Cover the vanilla and strawberry mixtures and refrigerate until needed.  Pour the pistachio mixture into the prepared loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid (about 4-6 hours).
  • Once frozen, pour the strawberry mixture on top of the pistachio cover and freeze until solid (about 4-6 hours).

Strawberry Semifreddo Layer

  • Once frozen, stir the vanilla mixture to ensure it hasn’t separated and pour over the strawberry and freeze until solid (about 4-6 hours).
  • To serve, use the saran wrap edges to life the semifreddo out of the pan.  Invert onto a plate and peel back the saran wrap and discard.  Cut slices from the loaf and serve.


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