Chocolate Pistachio Semifreddo

Serves 8-10 21 June 2020 Gluten Free Vegetarian Friendly
Anyone who spends time on these pages knows that I love a variation on a theme - one basic idea that can be used in multiple iterations and with numerous flavour options. The beauty, is that you need to master only a handful of techniques to create scores of different dishes. This recipe is one of those gifts.

I hope this will be the start of your great journey into Semifreddo love. I love this basic-ish vanilla base that I whip up and accessorise with infinite “stir-in” seasonal flavour options (a number of which are available on these pages). 

I add a good glug of good extra virgin olive oil to the light pillowy base as it adds an incredibly rich smoothness and brilliant flavour to the Semifreddo.  While I have made it many times without the olive oil (and it is still absolutely delicious), I would urge you to try it for a deeper iced treat flavour experience. 

This recipe makes approximately 10-12 generous slices when I make it in a loaf tin (my preferential freezing and serving method), but you can also scoop it straight out of a container or tin into ice cream balls. (If you decide to scoop rather than slice there is no need to line the loaf tin).

Feel free to replace the pistachios with toasted almonds or pecans (if you toast caramelise them it would be even better) or any other nuts of choice. And the addition of some good sour cherries soused in a little alcohol wouldn’t go amiss either………..

For the Base

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 75g (1/3 cup)  granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • pinch of Malden salt
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 100g (1/2 cup) creme fraiche (or use all heavy cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75ml (1/3 cup) olive oil

For the “Stir-In” Flavours

  • 100g (1 cup) raw pistachios and or almonds or a mixture of both
  • 150g (5oz) dark chocolate (70%) minimum

  • Preheat oven to 160C (300F).  Toast the nuts for 10 minutes in a small roasting tin until toasted, fragrant, and slightly golden.  Allow to cool slightly.  Chop the nuts and chocolate by hand.  Irregular pieces are great as they add interest as you slice through the set semifreddo (just make sure they are not too big).
  • Make the base:
  • Line your loaf tin with a double layer of cling film in a criss cross fashion, making sure there is a generous overhang at all ends so that you can fold it over the top of the Semifreddo before freezing. 
  • In a medium sized heatproof bowl set over a simmering pan of water, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey and salt until pale and thick (about 4-6 minutes) and sugar is completely dissolved.  Make sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or it will scramble the eggs.
  • Place aside to cool slightly while you whisk the cream.
  • In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer), whisk the cream and creme fraiche together until they form soft peaks.  Be careful not to over-whip.
  • Give the egg mixture one more quick whisk and gently fold into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.  Fold in the olive oil at the end until fully incorporated followed by the chopped chocolate and toasted nuts.
  • Pour into your prepared tin and fold over the extra pieces of cling film so that the semifreddo is completely covered. Freeze overnight.
  • Remove from the freezer about 5 minutes before you want to slice and serve. Turn the semifreddo upside down onto a cutting board and completely remove the cling film. Slice and serve.

Here are some additional flavour options:

Bread and Butter Semifreddo

Tahini/ / Halva Semifreddo

Eccles cake (or Christmas Cake or any cake, cookie or patisserie of choice) Semifreddo

Have you made this dish?

Let me know what you think, share your efforts and any tweaks you made to the recipe on Instagram, don’t forget to tag #BuildingFeasts or email me on