Posted by: ohmypuddin | June 14, 2011

Semifreddo: Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

I don’t have an ice cream maker. Yes, I do have a stand mixer, and yes, I could get the attachment for ice cream. But part of my fear is that I will eat the ice cream I make. All of it. I have no restraint, especially when I’m alone. None. So making my own ice cream is a bad idea. Making it easy to make my own ice cream is a worse idea.

This recipe is for a semifreddo, a frozen ice cream. It’s three flavors, which means you have to make three different recipes.

This recipe isn’t hard per se, but it is cumbersome. It requires careful timing. There’s some whisking, and heating things to a certain temperature, and steeping and straining and folding things in until blended (but not too blended!). You will create a mountain of dishes from boiling things in three different pots and whisking in three different bowls. Perhaps more.

It’s worth it though. I think. Well, here’s why I think it’s worth it: it’s delicious and impressive and makes about 8 servings, so you can’t go overboard with it. I made this for dinner club, and you can make it ahead of time, which is a winner in my book. It’s not fun serving delicious food that has to be made 3 minutes before you eat it.

This recipe is from Bon Appetit, but I changed the strawberry layer to mixed berries, because Casey in our dinner club is allergic to strawberries, and I do not want to kill her. That would be a terrible dinner party. So I don’t know what the strawberry tastes like, but I bet it’s good. I traded out raspberries, blueberries and blackberries instead, and it worked fine. Don’t worry about the seeds, those get strained out.

Pistachio, Strawberry, and Vanilla Semifreddo



  • 1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (about 4 ounces), hulled, halved or 1/3 cup each of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

  • Line a metal loaf pan (approximately 9x5x3″) with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang on all sides. I used a small loaf pan and it worked fine.
  • Grind pistachios and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer pistachio mixture to a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup milk; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl; strain, discarding solids. Stir in almond extract; set pistachio mixture aside.
  • Place remaining 1/2 cup milk in a separate small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over another medium bowl; strain, discarding solids, and chill vanilla mixture.
  • Purée strawberries and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a food processor until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over another medium bowl; strain, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids. Stir in vanilla extract and set strawberry mixture aside.
  • Whisk eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Beat egg mixture at high speed until it triples in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and continue beating until thick and cool, about 3 minutes. Add one-third of egg mixture to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla mixtures; fold each just to blend.
  • Beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add one-third of cream to each of the pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla mixtures; fold each just to blend. Cover vanilla and strawberry mixtures separately; chill. Pour pistachio mixture into pan; smooth top. Cover; freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Gently pour strawberry mixture over pistachio layer; smooth top. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes. Gently fold vanilla mixture to blend; pour over and smooth top. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Fold plastic wrap over; seal tightly and keep frozen.
  • Uncover semifreddo. Using plastic wrap as an aid, lift from mold. Invert onto a chilled platter; peel off plastic. Slice crosswise.


  1. I love pistachio ice cream. Love! I want to rub it all over myself. Sorry, that got awkward. Anyways – thanks for sharing this recipe! Nice bumping into you at our HEB.

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