The word semifreddo, pronounced “seh-mee-freh-doh,” comes from the Latin, semi meaning half and frigidus meaning cold. This dessert is not semi–cold, though, it is semi–frozen. It doesn’t freeze in the same texture as, say, ice cream or gelato, but in a softer, lovelier way—that just calls out for a spoon.
- 2½ cups ripe blackberries
- One ½-pint ripe raspberries
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- Ripe berries, for serving (optional)
STEP 1: Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with 2 sheets of plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on all sides to make unmolding easy.
STEP 2: Pulse the blackberries and raspberries in a food processor just until broken up. Pour the berries through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
STEP 3: Bring the sugar, water, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
STEP 4: Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and, with the mixer running, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful to avoid the beaters. Continue beating for 8 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites are cooled to room temperature.
STEP 5: Beat the cream on medium-high speed in a large deep bowl until it forms stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. With a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold the berry puree into the egg white mixture until almost blended, then fold in the whipped cream.
STEP 6: Spoon into the loaf pan and spread into the corners with a rubber spatula. Cover with the plastic and freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
STEP 7: About 15 minutes before serving, remove the semifreddo from the freezer. Fold back the plastic wrap, invert the semifreddo onto a serving platter, and peel off the plastic. Let stand for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Serve, cut into thick slices, with the berries, if using.