Skip to Content

How to Make Semifreddo to Stay Refreshed This Summer

Our contributor continues her refreshing summer dessert series with an original semifreddo recipe that requires no special equipment.

Hazelnut Semifreddo atop and within an ice cream cookie sandwich.

Hazelnut Semifreddo atop and within an ice cream cookie sandwich.

Summer is officially here! It's the season of heat and humidity — and not turning the oven on unless it’s absolutely necessary! The hot weather also means…the season of cool and refreshing desserts that involve minimal, if any baking.

In that vein, I offer you hazelnut semifreddo, a delicious, cool, churn-free frozen dessert with no special equipment required. I like to think of semifreddo as an elevated, almost soft-serve kind of ice cream that is easy to make. Once you learn the method, it is impressive and absolutely delicious. On top of that, feel free to adapt it and make your favorite flavors. It’s truly versatile.

I have made semifreddo for so many years now, I don’t think there’s a flavor I haven’t tried, including strawberry, pistachio, almond and amaretto, and rum and coconut. The list goes on and on, and the possibilities are endless. Run with it, use your creativity and make your favorite flavors!

As with all of my recipes, feel free to up the sugar if you have more of a sweet tooth, and use your creativity and imagination.

A note about hazelnut: if you really want the taste of nocciola like you get in Italy, do yourself a favor and get hazelnuts DOP from Piemonte. Hazelnuts are not all the same, and the reason why Italian ones are so good is because the actual nut is different from what we get here in the United States. That said, hazelnuts DOP from Piemonte can be hard to find and costly, so I suggest Trader Joe’s hazelnuts as a lower-cost alternative. I strongly suggest buying hazelnuts and hazelnut flour in Italy and bringing it back, though, when possible.

Hazelnut Semifreddo Mio Modo (my way)

Hazelnut Semifreddo Mio Modo (my way)

Recipe by Chiara Mantalto Giannini
0.0 from 0 votes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 4 4 eggs, separated (medium organic)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 sugar

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 hazelnuts, (preferably imported from Piemonte) ground

  • 1 pint 1 heavy cream

  • 1 tbsp. 1 sugar

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 water

  • 2 tbsp. 2 sugared cocoa from Italy (or more, to taste) or 2 tbsp cocoa mixed with 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

  • 1 drop 1 Frangelico (optional)


  • Separate eggs well.
  • Beat egg whites till stiff peaks form and transfer to another bowl.
  • Whip cream till just before stiff peaks form.
  • Beat egg yolks with 1/c sugar till light and fluffy, about 7 - 8 minutes.
  • Add in some of the ground hazelnuts and Frangelico into yolks and sugar.
  • In a bagna maria or over a double boiler, dissolve 1 tbsp sugar in about 1/4 cup water.
  • Heat till sugar dissolves and it bubbles.
  • Slowly, take a spoon of the boiling sugared water and add to yolks/sugar while continuing to mix.
  • Add about three spoons of water (discard the rest of the sugar water).
  • Add in rest of the ground hazelnuts and the sugared cocoa.
  • Add the yolks/hazelnut cocoa mixture to the whipped cream and finish whipping till stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites.
  • Once all ingredients are combined, mix gently in mixer to smooth it out.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @appetitomagazine on Instagram and hashtag it with #italianfoodanddrink

Like this recipe?

Follow @Appetitomagazine on Pinterest

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow us on Facebook

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Appetito

How To Apply for the S. Pellegrino Young Chefs Academy Competition

Applications close this week for the prestigious culinary competition that has become a springboard for launching chef careers.

June 17, 2024

Exploring the Coastal Charms of Cesenatico in Emilia-Romagna

Our correspondent discovers Cesenatico, a gem on Emilia-Romagna's Adriatic coast that is rich in heritage, charm and cuisine.

June 17, 2024

Sunday Shop: Omega Juicers, House of Amao, Alice

Morgan Hines seeks out the best in not only food and drink but style, housewares, and more. Welcome to Appetito’s Sunday Shop!

June 16, 2024

Lambrusco Spritz Season Starts Now

Take Emilia-Romagna’s famed fizzy red wine, add more bubbles, and you have a refreshing spritz that’s suddenly on-trend!

June 14, 2024
See all posts