Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo


Do you like those slushy, cold drinks that Starbucks sells? I believe Mocha Frappuccino is the name? Those, along with the hot chocolate, are the only drinks I enjoy from Starbucks. I know, I know, I’m in the minority. In any case, this dessert tastes like one of those drinks, spread over an Oreo cookie crust and popped into the freezer. In other words, absolutely freaking delicious. Now I had heard of semifreddo before and have even watched Giada DeLaurentiis make a couple, but I wasn’t sure what exactly classified a particular frozen dessert as a semifreddo, so I did some Googling. According to Wikipedia:

Semifreddo (Italian for “half cold”) is a class of semi-frozen desserts,
typically ice cream cakes, semi-frozen custards, and certain fruit tarts.
It also refers to an ice cream sandwich, in which the bread
is a lightly toasted croissant. It has the texture of frozen mousse.

This definitely qualifies as a semi-frozen custard and certainly has the texture of a frozen mousse.


Annie and I had planned on making this recipe waaaay back last summer, but we somehow got sidetracked and never did it. Well, good things come to those who wait, and this is definitely a good thing. It does require a number of steps: making the crust, making the custard, mixing cream cheese and cream, heating egg whites, whipping egg whites, lots of folding… and finally freezing. Ironically, even though it required a number of steps, it didn’t seem as though it took very long to put together, maybe an hour at most.


Notes on the recipe:

♦  I cut this recipe into ¼ and made it in a miniature 4-inch springform pan.

♦  The original recipe calls for mascarpone cheese, rather than cream cheese. I just couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on mascarpone when my gut told me that cream cheese would be just as good. And it was, it added a fabulous flavor. Plus I already knew I liked the coffee/cream cheese combination from making the Coffee-and-Espresso Layered Cheesecake, and it was just as good this time around.

♦  The egg whites seemed to take forever to get to 145°F. I was admittedly annoyed. I think next time I will buy pasteurized eggs that have already been heated to that temperature remove bacteria. This is what I did when I made Tiramisu that required raw eggs.

♦  I’m messy when I drizzle chocolate, I think it’s more fun that way.

♦  Serving this with a raspberry coulis would be scrumptious. Unfortunately, I just thought of that this very second. Ahh, hindsight!


In the mood for a frozen treat that doesn’t involve multiple steps? Try this Classic Vanilla Ice Cream. Simple, creamy, and delicious. Perfect with pies, warm brownies, or all by itself!

1 Year Ago: Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active) 4 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours


For the crust:
1¾ cup chocolate cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the semifreddo:
3 ounces espresso
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Kahlua or coffee liquor
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces heavy cream


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Over a double boiler, whisk together the yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar until it is pale yellow and thick. Add espresso, Kahlua, and vanilla. Place over simmering water and whisk continuously and vigorously until liquid coats the back of a spoon and the mixture is thick and foamy.

4. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and continue stirring until cooled.

5. In a separate bowl, stir together the cream cheese and heavy cream until smooth. Do not overstir.

6. Place egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Gently whisk together over a simmering double boiler until it reaches 145°F. Remove from the heat and set the bowl on the mixer with the balloon whisk attachment. Whip on medium high until stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed to medium and mix until the bowl is cool to the touch.

7. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture until there are no streaks left.

8. Fold ¼ of the meringue (egg white mixture) into the chocolate-cream cheese mixture. Fold in the remaining meringue in three parts. Do not overmix.

9. Spread the mixture over the baked crust in the pan. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.

10. When ready to serve, run a warm, dry knife around the sides of the pan, then loosen and remove the sides of the pan. Decorate with a drizzle of melted chocolate and fresh berries, if desired. Serve cold and cut slices with a warm, dry knife.

(Adapted from use real butter)


46 Responses to “Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo”

  1. Woman with a Whisk on June 16, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Definitely going on my list to make for my next dinner party. Seems like a perfect summer treat with a beautiful presentation!


  2. VeggieGirl on June 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I’m in the minority too, haha 😉

    Love your variation of the semifreddo!


  3. Lucy on June 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I absolutely love what you have here, and I’d take those dripping (they look great) 😉 Makes perfect dessert to cool down the summer heat! Kudos


  4. TammyJo Eckhart, PhD on June 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Looks yummy… now if I only liked coffee more…


  5. Niall Harbison on June 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    That just looks too good to be true! I am sitting here with nothing in the house and craving something sweet and I find this! Damm you anyway 🙂


  6. Michelle on June 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Woman with a Whisk – Thank you! A dinner party would be a perfect occasion for this!

    VeggieGirl – Thanks! Glad I’m not the only one not enamored with Starbucks!

    TammyJo – I am definitely not a coffee lover, but this dessert is fabulous! The espresso definitely lends a coffee flavor, but paired with the chocolate, it’s great!

    Niall – Sorry! Maybe you can make this tomorrow!


  7. Kriskishere on June 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Anything that involves a coffee ice cream-like taste and texture is A++++ in my book! Looks divine!


  8. Kerstin on June 16, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Gorgeous and the perfect dessert for summer! I love the raspberries and drizzle chocolate on top!


  9. HoneyB on June 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I could go for some of this! Looks fabulous!


  10. Heidi on June 16, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    This looks like a dessert that calls for a special event, so I think I’ll plan a special event so I can make it:) I love your recipe tips, really helps.


  11. Michelle on June 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Heidi – Good call on creating a special event for making this! I’m glad that you found my tips helpful, thanks so much for the feedback!


  12. Janice on June 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I love frappaccinos, this dessert looks amazingly delicious. I will have to make this soon.


  13. Cookin' Canuck on June 16, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Oh my! This looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try this. Your photos are gorgeous.


  14. food librarian on June 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    This looks just amazing! So beautiful! Love your blog.


  15. Michelle on June 16, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Cookin’ Canuck – Thanks for the compliment on the photos!

    Food Librarian – Thank you! So happy that you enjoy my blog; yours is one of my favorites!


  16. chocolateshavings on June 17, 2009 at 8:53 am

    If it tastes like the frappuccino, count me in!


  17. Joelen on June 17, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Gorgeous job Chelle!


  18. Bette on June 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

    This looks absolutely wonderful! I’m a big fan of the pasteurized shell eggs and love to use them in recipes like this. (BTW you can get great coupons if you go to the site and fill out the short survey.) I think I’ll make it this weekend.


  19. Michelle on June 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Bette – Thanks for the tip on coupons! If you make it this weekend definitely let me know how you liked it!


  20. Jaime on June 17, 2009 at 11:26 am

    wow that looks totally decadent! sorry i haven’t been around much, life has been super busy… haven’t even been on the WC board for a while now. hope you’re doing well 🙂


  21. Michelle on June 17, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Hi Jaime – no need to apologize! I saw that you are expecting a baby girl – congratulations!


  22. Ashley on June 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Wow this is stunning!


  23. joanne on June 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    145 degrees for the egg whites is also (if you don’t have a thermometer) the point at which the sugar is completely dissolved into the egg whites. so, while whisking over the heat, dip your finger in — if it still feels a little grainy, keep heating. It is a PITA, but ensures that all the sugar is completely incorporated, and that your meringue will be fluffier.


  24. Michelle on June 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Joanne – Thanks so much for the additional information on heating the egg whites and dissolving the sugar. Great info!


  25. Tammy on June 17, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I love the messy chocolate. This is one for my menu. Thanks for sharing!


  26. Debi Shawcross on June 18, 2009 at 7:08 am

    …Saved to my recipe box- This looks delicious!


  27. Lane on June 18, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Beautiful photos and I love the way you drizzled your chocolate! I don’t make desserts often but this looks too good not to try!


  28. Annie on June 21, 2009 at 7:50 am

    I loved making this with you! Can’t wait to see what you pick next 🙂


  29. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on June 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Oooh I can’t wait to make this! Looks great! And I love frappuccinos too, you aren’t alone!


  30. susana on July 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    delicious .I love chocolat and eclairs and semifreddo.


  31. Jacob on July 27, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Decided to make this last minute for a dinner party. Was very tasty and everyone liked it. I was happy I was able to eat more then a few bites unlike the peanut butter torte(Although I’m not complaining). I’m glad I followed your idea with the smaller 4inch spring forms. Keeps me from making a total pig of myself 🙂


  32. Joelen on July 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I’d love to feature your blogpost for this month’s Tasty Tools, where we are highlighting springform pans. Would it be okay to give you some blog link love and include you in the round up with a picture of your dish?


  33. Michelle on July 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Jacob – So glad that you and your guests enjoyed this! I am definitely a huge fan of the mini springform pans!


  34. lindsey on February 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I made this for our Valentine’s Day dessert tonight. It was fantastic! Thanks for this great recipe.


  35. Pingback: Oven-Fried Onion Rings, Take II | Brown Eyed Baker

  36. Simone on August 23, 2010 at 6:37 am

    this looks delicious..yummi..i look for inspiration cause i have a lot of oreo cookies at home,so i will be making some sweets.please come in and check my blog at
    welcome,and see ya there


  37. Pingback: Macaroni Salad Recipe | Brown Eyed Baker

  38. Pingback: German Chocolate Cake Recipe

  39. Pingback: 30 of My Favorite Ice Cream Recipes

  40. Pingback: 30 of My Favorite Ice Cream Recipes | Biz Chicks

  41. Pingback: 75 Valentine's Day Recipes | Valentine's Day Desserts | Brown Eyed Baker

  42. Pingback: Yummy Cake » 140 Valentine’s Day Recipes

  43. Pingback: Valentine’s Day Recipes | Breakfast, Dinners and Desserts! | Brown Eyed Baker | Appliance Repair

  44. Pingback: Best Pinterest Posts » 140 Valentine’s Day Recipes

  45. Pingback: 140 Valentine’s Day Recipes | Kitchen Gadgets for Cooking

  46. Pingback: Elegant Cakes – Thick-Crust Sicilian Pizza

Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)