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Chef Cindy's Lemon Semifreddo

Semifreddo di Limone

Serves 6

Even pastry chefs like to save time in the kitchen, like Cindy Salvato, who is also the food stylist on the television series Ciao Italia. Her smooth and cool Semifreddo di Limone, partially frozen lemon dessert, is tangy and zesty with a rich, creamy texture and can be made days ahead. Serve it with Cindy's Blueberry Compote, which can also be made ahead. As an added bonus, Cindy says it can be served unfrozen as a mousse in tall goblets or as a filling for sponge cake or cream puffs.


5 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup ground pistachio nuts


Line a 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixture whip the eggs and sugar on high speed until triple in bulk. Turn mixer to low and add the melted butter in a steady stream, then the lemon juice; the batter will deflate. Don't worry.

Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler and cook, over boiling water, until thickened, whisking constantly; the mixture should be the consistency of a loose pudding. Remove from the heat; transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic and cool completely.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cooled lemon mixture. Pour into lined loaf pan, and spread it evenly with the back of a large spoon; completely cover the surface with ground pistachio nuts, cover and freeze.

To serve, remove the frozen semifreddo from the pan and unwrap the plastic. Place the semifreddo nut side down on a cutting board and cut one-inch slices of the loaf. Transfer each slice onto individual serving plates. Serve with Blueberry Compote or fresh berries.

Blueberry Compote

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1 tablespoon Limoncello or fresh lemon juice
3 cups fresh blueberries

In a saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, vanilla bean seeds, and Limoncello. Add the berries and cook over low heat until the berries are translucent, stirring lightly. Remove from the heat and cool.

Note: Make vanilla-flavored sugar with the vanilla bean pod. Simply store the pod with sugar in a tightly closed container.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.


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