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For the uninitiated, a semifreddo is a half-frozen dessert, made of egg yolks, sugar, and cream, and it’s my idea of a very good time. It’s similar to ice cream, reminiscent of pudding or mousse, but far easier to make. And it’s creamy, velvety, and infinitely adaptable—a semifreddo can be flavored in just about any way you can imagine, from strawberries to lemons and amaretto. But my all-time favorite version is as perfect for the hot weather as it is for cooler temps: It calls for tahini, is studded with mini chocolate chips, and is just downright scrumptious. 

Related Reading: 13 No-Bake Desserts That Are Stress-Free & Delicious

Although there are several ways to assemble a semifreddo, this particular recipe calls for only a handful of ingredients—most of which you probably already have in your pantry—and requires no fancy equipment (ice cream maker, I’m looking at you!).

Jessie Sheehan

To start, you’ll make a simple tahini whipped cream, sweetened with a little sugar and seasoned with a dash of salt to bring out both the sweet and salty flavors of the sesame seeds. Some semifreddos calling for tahini require you to fold it in later in the process, but I find that the sesame spread incorporates best if you whip it along with the heavy cream. Egg yolks and sugar are then warmed on the stovetop and beaten in a stand mixer until ribbons form when you lift the beaters. Once cooled, this mixture is folded into the whipped cream, along with some mini chocolate chips, and then transferred to a loaf pan (though you could portion it out into ramekins, if you were feeling that whole cutesy-pie, individual dessert thing).

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After an 8-hour stint in the freezer, slices of the freddo—as I like to call it—are served with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, or extra mini chips (or all three). If tahini is not your thing, you can substitute peanut butter—or leave it out altogether—and instead add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla to the whipped cream, leaving you with a pretty fab straight-up chocolate-chip semifreddo. Bottom line: This is an adaptable, easy (despite its fancy Italian name) make-ahead recipe and a refreshing crowd-pleaser that may just be your new go-to when the craving for a humble scoop of ice cream hits.

Tahini Semifreddo Recipe

Tahini Semifreddo

Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup tahini, stirred until smooth
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cream, confectioners’ sugar, tahini and salt together on medium to medium high speed until medium peaks form. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
  3. Clean the stand mixer bowl. Add the yolks and sugar to the clean bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the yolks and granulated sugar together until the sugar melts, and the mixture is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and return it to the stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the yolks and sugar on medium high until cooled, light and ribbon-y, about 5 minutes. Gently fold the yolks into the whipped cream. Add the chips and fold them in as well.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and freeze for 8 hours, or overnight.
  6. Invert the semifreddo onto a platter and slice.

Header image by Jessie Sheehan.

Jessie Sheehan is a cookbook author, food writer, recipe developer, and baker. She is the author of "The Vintage Baker" (one of the Washington Post’s best cookbooks of 2018 and beloved by Oprah and Nigella) and the co-author of "Icebox Cakes" (both published by Chronicle Books). She has developed recipes for many cookbooks, besides her own, and has contributed recipes, written and/or created video content for Better Homes & Garden, Rachael Ray Everyday, the Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Yankee Magazine (October 2020) Epicurious, Food52, The Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show, The Feed Feed, The Kitchn, TASTE, Chowhound, Yummly, Spruce Eats and Little Sous, among others. Jessie blogs at jessiesheehanbakes.com and can be found on Instagram at @jessiesheehanbakes.
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