A refreshing ice cream cake recipe, perfect to impress your guests with at your next garden party. Create this easy, make-ahead, elegant lemon curd semifreddo dessert, ideal for outdoor entertaining on a hot summer day otherwise this recipe can also be enjoyed any time of the year.
Spring is here and we have generously been gifted with some beautiful lemons from our neighbour. Initially we wanted to make a lemon curd but now that the weather is warming up, we are longing for a frozen dessert! And to be honest, who wants to spend time standing in a hot kitchen when one can be enjoying the outdoors!
Making Ice cream was top of our list but we had a slight issue… we don’t own an ice cream machine! Ooops! But we didn’t let this dampen our spirits and that’s when we came up with the idea to make a lemon curd semifreddo instead – it’s as good if not better than ice cream. The result was a wonderfully rich, zesty lemon curd semifreddo of which we are excited to share the recipe!
We also show you how to decorate the semifreddo, using our homemade meringue sticks. Even though semifreddo’s might not be that common on restaurant menus, it is a great way to show off your dessert game with this restaurant quality dessert!
WHAT IS A SEMIFREDDO?
Semifreddo is a classic Italian dessert and even though it’s like ice cream, the texture and process to make it, is what sets them apart. Instead of churning, you basically whip air into the base of the semifreddo and then leave it to set in the freezer.
This dessert is like a frozen mousse hence the name Semifreddo which when translated, means “half-frozen”. The French have something similar that they call a “parfait glace“.
WHY SHOULD YOU MAKE THIS DESSERT?
This lemon curd semifreddo recipe is a breeze to make and a great dessert for big gatherings. All you have to do is to remove the semifreddo from the terrine form and slice and decorate it when you are ready to serve. This makes it the ultimate make-ahead dessert without having to use any fancy ice cream machines!
To make this creamy but light dessert with a refreshing tangy taste and a crunchy texture, just follow our step by step recipe. From experience we can confidently say, this frozen dessert will be the next big hit with your family and friends.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
To make this frozen dessert, you will need the following ingredients:
Lemons the recipe requires lemon zest and lemon juice, you can adjust the amount if you want a punch of acidity.
Butter is part of every lemon curd, the amount however in this recipe is lesser than what is required for a common curd recipe
Sugar for sweetness. Caster sugar works best for the curd as it dissolves faster.
Eggs are for the lemon curd recipe. You will be left with 2 egg whites, use them for your next batch of meringues.
Cream is whipped and folded under the curd mixture. Heavy cream or whipping cream is required.
Vanilla is added to the cream. I use vanilla essence but you can use fresh vanilla too.
Meringues are added to the semifreddo mix for crunch. If you want to make your own meringues follow our meringue recipe.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON CURD
This classic tangy, creamy curd is still the most popular of all curds. Follow these steps to make the base for the lemon semifreddo but keep the recipe handy as you might want to make it again to use as a spread or a sauce.
Wash the lemon and grate the rind. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice.
In a heatproof bowl combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and butter.
Place on a pan with slow simmering water (double boiler) and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Crack the eggs and yolks in a seperate bowl and whisk with a fork. Now, pour into the bowl with the lemon mixture on the water bath.
Stir the the lemon curd constantly until it thickens and lightly coats the back of a spatula.
Strain the curd through a fine sieve and set aside to cool at room temperature.
The recipe makes about 450grams (1 pound) lemon curd, 420 grams (0.92 pounds) is needed for the semifreddo, the remaining lemon curd is for garnish.
HOW TO MAKE SEMIFREDDO
For the semifreddo we need whipped cream to make the mixture light and airy. Combine the cream and vanilla essence in a bowl. Here we don’t use sugar to avoid the dessert being overly sweet. Use a hand blender or kitchen aid and mix the cream until soft peaks form.
Check the temperature of the lemon curd, it should be at room temperature. Fold the whipped cream under the cooled lemon curd mixture using a whisk.
Now add the meringue pieces. We chopped them rather small, leave them in bigger pieces if you want more texture in your semifreddo.
Line a terrine form (alternatively you can use small ramekins if you want to plate the semifreddo individually) with plastic wrap and pour the mixture inside.
Tap the terrine form on the kitchen counter to release any air bubbles. Fold the plastic wrap over the semifreddo to seal it and place in the freezer to set for at least 4 hours.
Once you are ready for plate up, take out the semifreddo from the freezer.
Lift the semifreddo out of the terrine form and remove the plastic wrap. Heat the plate of a thin knife under running hot water, wipe it dry and then slice the semifreddo to get a clean cut.
For plating up the lemon curd semifreddo, we used a few different garnishes.
The beautiful blueberries you see below are from Tallogum Berries a local producer in Lindendale. One can find their stall at the weekly farmers markets around Northen Rivers otherwise they also stock some local grocery shops. Every week my son and I look forward to buying a box of these big, juicy and delicious blueberries!
If you have ever felt intimidated making your own Meringue, I am here to tell you, please don’t. All you need is a bit of know how, time and passion to make your own Meringue at home. Knowing how to make different shapes of meringues, is not only fun but it can take your desserts like this lemon curd semifreddo to the next level!
For this recipe we have used chopped up Meringue sticks. You can learn how to make these with our easy step by step recipe for meringue decorations.
From this recipe you will have left over lemon curd which can be used to garnish the plate like you can see in the image below.
If you liked this frozen dessert recipe and would like to experiment with more flavours, then you will LOVE this Passionfruit Lemon Curd It is one of our most liked recipes!
When should I take the semifreddo out of the freezer?
Take it out just before you are ready to serve dessert. The frozen dessert will not melt that quickly but nevertheless best to plan well. Keeping the plates you are presenting your semifreddo on in the fridge or freezer, will help especially in summer. Once the semifreddo terrine is on your cutting board you should aim for 5 minutes to cut slices and decorate the dessert.
How long can I freeze the semifreddo for?
You can freeze the semifreddo for up to 3 months that’s why we call it the ultimate make-ahead dessert. However make sure that the semifreddo is solid frozen. To avoid any off flavours from the freezer add another layer of plastic wrap.
Can Semifreddo be flavoured with other ingredients?
Yes it can. There are no limits to making semifreddo. Same like ice cream, semifreddo can be made from all the basic flavours; think chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, caramel, with fruit purees, from herbs like mint, lemon verbena and lavender, you name it.
RECIPES AROUND FROZEN DESSERTS
Here are some more ideas from other bloggers and us for what to serve semifreddo with or what to make next:
Serve our semifreddo with this delicious 3 ingredient strawberry sauce from braised°lazed
With these crackling macadamia nut brittles for texture and presentation
Try this refreshing Easy Berry Icebox Cake from A Red Spatula
Or this popular Chocolate Sundae from Keep Calm And Eat Ice Cream
Enjoy this recipe!
Lemon Curd Semifreddo with Meringue
- terrine form
- hand mixer or kitchen aid
- mixing bowls
- small pot
- lemon grater or microplane
for the lemon curd
- 1 large lemon (190ml/6.4 fl oz lemon juice)
- 70 gram butter
- 200 gram white sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
for the semifreddo
- 420 gram lemon curd
- 300 gram heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon vanilla essence
- 30 gram meringue chopped into small pieces
for the lemon curd
- Wash the lemon and grate the rind. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice.
- In a heatproof bowl combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and butter.
- Place on a pan with slow simmering water and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
- Crack the eggs and yolks in a seperate bowl and whisk with a fork. Pour into the bowl with the lemon mixture.
- Stir the the lemon curd constantly over the heat until it thickens and lightly coats the back of a spatula.
- Strain the curd through a fine sieve and set aside to cool at room temperature.
- The recipe makes about 450grams (1 pound) lemon curd, 420 grams (0.92 pounds) is needed for the semifreddo, the remaining lemon curd is for garnish.
for the semifreddo
- Combine the cream and vanilla essence in a bowl. Use a hand blender or kitchen aid and mix the cream until soft peaks form.
- Check the temperature of the lemon curd, it should be at room temperature. Fold the whipped cream under the cooled down lemon curd mixture using a whisk.
- Add chopped Meringue sticks and using a spatula fold into the semifreddo mixture
- Line a terrine form (alternatively you can use small ramekins if you want to plate the semifreddo individually) with plastic wrap and pour the mixture inside. Tap the terrine form on the kitchen counter to release any air bubbles. Wrap with overlapping plastic film and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
for the plate up
- Remove the semifreddo from the terrine form and place ona cutting board. Heat up the blade of a thin knife under hot running water and wipe dry. Cut into slices and serve on a platter on individual plates.
- Decorate with blueberries, mint and meringue sticks. Serve the remaining lemon curd on the side.