The hot summer months are the perfect time for semifreddo, a frozen Italian dessert similar to ice cream. You can use many different ingredients to flavor your own version of this creamy, smooth, delightful treat. One of the best things about this recipe for Peach and Thyme Semifreddo? No ice cream maker required!
What does it mean?
Semifreddo translates to “half cold,” but when it comes to this dessert, it really means, “sort of frozen.” Semifreddo doesn’t freeze solid like ice cream, yet it’s still smooth and creamy.
Whipping up the classics
I’ve been taking a pastry class and, oh how I love it! Do I have what it takes to be a pastry chef at a restaurant or the corner bakery? Heck no, but I’ve certainly learned the basics and how to make many classic desserts.
Among the things I’ve learned about classic desserts, is that they’re easier to make than I always thought. That includes semifreddo. The traditional recipe we used in my class calls for including only egg whites, and we didn’t cook them. My instructor cautioned that only pasteurized eggs should be used for this recipe.
I don’t have an extra inch of space in any of my kitchen cupboards, so that means I don’t have room for an ice cream maker (sad, I know). But with this recipe in my hands, I can hold off a little longer on a new appliance.
Consider this information before eating foods prepared with raw eggs: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 142,000 illnesses each year in the U.S. are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella (a group of bacteria). Certain people are at greater risk for severe illness and include pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Thorough cooking is perhaps the most important step in making sure eggs are safe. Those at greater risk for severe illness mentioned above should not consume raw eggs.
For more information review the FDA’s food safety tips for consumers. Readers outside the U.S. should consult with their country’s food safety guidelines about the risks of consuming raw eggs.
Recipe for Peach and Thyme Semifreddo:
Adapted from Classic Cooking Academy
- 4 large egg whites (use pasteurized eggs)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 peaches, puréed and passed through a mesh strainer (discard any solids)
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Peaches for garnish
- Thyme leaves for garnish
- Spray a large loaf pan (I used a 9x3-inch springform pan) with nonstick cooking spray, then line it with plastic wrap, allowing some to hang over the sides of the pan.
- Whip the egg whites until they’re foamy. Add 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar to the egg whites, then whip until the whites form a stiff peak.
- In another bowl, whip the cream to a soft peak. Reduce the speed and add the remaining 3/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, peach purée, Cointreau and thyme leaves.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the cream in a few batches.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover and freeze for at least four hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the pan from the freezer and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut the semifreddo into slices and serve on individual plates garnished with peaches and a few thyme leaves.