Looking for an ice-cream alternative? Then pistachio semifreddo is for you! A delightful dessert that will surely get you hooked — it’s delicious, addictive, and so easy to prepare. You might end up preparing it the entire summer!
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Pistachio semifreddo = Taormina.
Yep, my love for pistachio semifreddo started on our Sicilian trip back in 2015. I guess that’s not a surprise since the best pistachios are from Bronte.
Bronte is a small town in the foothills of Mt. Etna, in Sicily. The minerals and lava from the earth are what make their pistachios unique — surprisingly sweet and soft.
The entire time we were in Taormina, my after-dinner dessert was pistachio semifreddo. It didn’t matter where, as soon as we sat down, that was the first thing I checked on the menu.
So, it’s no surprise that I now make it regularly in Stockholm.
WHAT IS SEMIFREDDO?
The literal translation from Italian is ‘half cold.’
Better to think of it as a semi-frozen dessert. I always see it as somewhere between a mousse and an ice cream, so the texture is more like a frozen mousse.
The best part, no special equipment is required!
- Cream – double cream or I believe they are sometimes called heavy cream or whipping cream.
- Vanilla extract – just use your favorite brand.
- Eggs – at room temperature; organic ones.
- Pistachios – no shell and unsalted.
- Sugar – I suggest using caster sugar since they have a really fine texture. If you don’t have those, just pulse your regular white sugar in a food processor (or blender) for a few seconds to get the same texture.
Start by toasting the pistachios (either in the oven or stovetop).
Once they’re cool enough, chop them coarsely (photo 1).
Using a medium-sized bowl, combine cream with one cup of chopped pistachios. Mix and set aside in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
Remove from the refrigerator, then strain the pistachios and set aside.
Add vanilla extract into the cream and whip it.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites while slowly adding the sugar (photo 2).
Beat until the egg whites become stiff and glossy.
Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the whipped cream, then continue until you have added all the egg whites (photo 3).
Add the strained, chopped pistachios and gently mix to combine (photo 4)
Spoon the cream mixture into your molds or tin (photo 5).
By using an angled spatula, even out the top, then cover with a plastic wrap (photo 6).
Freeze for at least four hours.
Remove the pistachio semifreddo from the tin and sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios.
- Do not skip the toasting of the pistachios. Aside from infusing them into the cream, this will give the semifreddo a deeper pistachio flavor.
- You can use either vanilla extract or almond extract. I find that both work well for this recipe.
- Feel free to use ramekins. Just line it with a plastic wrap before spooning the mixture into it. This will help you to remove the semifreddo for serving easily.
- Before placing them in the freezer, cover the top of the tins/ramekins with plastic wrap. It will prevent ice crystals from forming on top.
- CAN I USE LIQUOR?
Absolutely. I have used amaretto a couple of times, so don’t be wary of using your favorite liquor too.
Just keep in mind that it might add up to the overall sweetness, so make sure you adjust the sugar accordingly.
- DO I REALLY NEED TO INFUSE THE PISTACHIOS?
Unless you are using Sicilian pistachios, I find that the only way I can intensify the taste of pistachio is by infusing them into the cream for at least thirty minutes.
Try leaving it for an hour, and you will notice a deeper greenish tint on your pistachio semifreddo as well.
- HOW DO I SERVE THIS?
Sprinkling then with chopped pistachios is my go-to way of serving this semifreddo recipe.
However, for special occasions (or more drama), you can never go wrong with melted dark chocolate.
Just melt the chocolate in the microwave and then pour (or drizzle) them on the semifreddo. YUM!
LOOKING FOR MORE SUMMER DESSERTS? CHECK OUT THESE POSTS –
Pistachio Semifreddo Recipe
- 1 & 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 medium egg whites, organic
- 1 cup heavy cream (or double cream)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200 grams dark chocolate, melted (optional)
- Toast the pistachios (either in the oven or stovetop will work) and chop them roughly.
- Combine double cream with 1 cup chopped pistachios; mix then set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Take the cream with pistachios from the refrigerator and strain the pistachios. Set it aside.
- Add vanilla extract into the cream and whip it to combine.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites while slowly adding the sugar — continue beating until the egg whites become stiff and glossy.
- Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the whipped cream; repeat until all the egg whites have been combined with the cream.
- Add the strained pistachios and mix gently.
- Spoon into your molds or tin. Cover the tins with plastic wrap.
- Place tins or molds in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
- Remove your pistachio semifreddo from the tin and sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios.
- Cook’s Tip #1: For this recipe, I use 12 of the semi-sphere molds, and each semi-sphere is about 2 tablespoons. As an alternative, you can also use a 2-lb tin.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Remember to toast the pistachios. Aside from infusing them into the cream, it will give the semifreddo a deeper pistachio flavor.
- Cooks’ Tip #3: You can use either vanilla extract or almond extract. I find that both work well for this recipe.
- Cook’s Tip #4: Feel free to use ramekins.Just line it with a plastic wrap before spooning the mixture into it. This will help you to remove the semifreddo for serving easily.
- Cook’s Tip #5: Before placing them in the freezer, cover the top of the tins/ramekins with plastic wrap. It will prevent ice crystals from forming on top.