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Ice cream desserts are usually a hit with everyone and a creamy, Italian one like this semifreddo should be no exception. With a soft and velvety mousse-like texture, this frozen dessert with orange and dark chocolate flavours is a joy to eat. Inside, it has pieces of tasty almond macaroons and meringue to provide a bit of crunch. Give this easy semifreddo recipe a try next time you are expecting company.


  • Whip sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy and fold in quark.
  • Beat egg whites stiff. Then, beat whipping cream into a light foam.
  • Fold first the whipped cream into the quark mixture and then, little by little, the beaten egg whites.
  • Separate the mixture into two batches and fold orange zest into one and chopped dark chocolate into the other.
  • Spread half of the macaroons onto the bottom of a loaf tin (approx. 10 x 30 cm) and pour the ice cream mixture with orange zest over them.
  • Sprinkle the orange ice cream mixture with the meringue pieces and pour the ice cream mixture with dark chocolate on top.
  • Sprinkle the remaining macaroons on top of the chocolate ice cream mixture and press them lightly into the surface.
  • Cover the dessert and transfer it to the freezer. Leave it in there for at least 4 hours.
  • 1 hour before you wish to serve it, transfer the dessert to the refrigerator.
  • Turn the dessert out onto a platter and garnish it with coarsely chopped chocolate and fresh lemon balm leaves.

De-moulding frozen desserts can sometimes be a bit tricky. When you want to de-mould your dessert, dipping the tin loaf quickly in warm water will ease the process. Running a knife along the edge of the tin is also a good trick. Turn the orange and dark chocolate semifreddo out onto a cutting board, place the platter on top, and flip both to get the ice cream dessert onto the platter – this way, the Italian dessert will be right side up and ready to be garnished with chocolate shards and fresh lemon balm leaves.

Questions about semifreddo

With our semifreddo recipe, making an impressive and enticing frozen dessert with many different flavours and textures is quite simple. Learn more about the dessert by reading the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Italian classic below.

What is semifreddo?
Semifreddo is the name of a frozen dessert from Italy. The name means 'half-frozen' or 'half-cold' and is a reference to the fact that it is thawed for a bit rather than being served straight from the freezer. Due to its ingredients and how air is incorporated as it is prepared, the Italian dessert has a soft, creamy, and airy texture, not unlike a mousse, while being frozen like ice cream or French parfait.
How to make semifreddo?
Semifreddo with its creamy texture and delicious flavours is a great frozen dessert to serve all year round. Start by preparing the ice cream base, separate it into two and flavour the batches with orange zest and chocolate respectively, then layer them with chopped macaroons and pieces of meringue before freezing the dessert for at least four hours. To ensure the dessert lives up to its name, half-frozen, remember to thaw it for an hour in the refrigerator before garnishing with chocolate and lemon balm leaves and serving it.
How long does semifreddo last in the freezer?
In the freezer, a homemade semifreddo wrapped in cling film and stored in an airtight container will last for up to 1 month. However, enjoying it closer to making it as possible, the smoother and lighter it will be. Over time, the texture naturally becomes harder and icier. Remember to thaw the frozen dessert for 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving it. Remove the cling film before thawing it to avoid it leaving marks on the surface.
What is the difference between semifreddo and ice cream?
The main difference between semifreddo ice cream and classic ice cream is found in their texture and how they are made. Like a French parfait, the cream used in this Italian semifreddo recipe is whipped before being mixed gently with the other ingredients. This is not the case in traditional ice cream recipes where the base is also cooked before being frozen. The base is not cooked in no-churn ice cream recipes like the beforementioned French and Italian classics. Due to the differences, these ice cream types are lighter and airier than old-fashioned ice cream. Who wins the semifreddo vs ice cream debate is up to you!


Sugar (approx. 1¾ dl)
150 g
Pasteurised egg yolks
Quark 0.3%
500 g
Pasteurised egg whites
Double cream
250 ml
Finely grated oranges zest (organic)
2 tbsp
Coarsely chopped dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
75 g
Coarsely chopped almonds macaroons
100 g
Meringue in big pieces, for instance, meringue kisses
50 g
Coarsely chopped dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
Fresh lemons balm leaves

Semifreddo with orange and chocolate

The name of this Italian dessert translates to 'half-frozen' or 'half-cold' and it belongs to the same category of no-churn ice cream as the airy French parfait. With a texture like frozen mousse, our semifreddo made with egg whites is even lighter in texture, and indulging in this soft, creamy frozen dessert flavoured with chocolate and orange is simply incredible.

If you are searching for more delicious dessert recipes, we suggest having a look at the classic Italian dessert panna cotta, our ginger-spiced applesauce dessert with lemon cream, and our delicate meringue dessert, pavlova, with fresh berries.

An Italian dessert with delicate flavours

While the Italian classic may be flavoured in a myriad of ways, you cannot go wrong with a classic combination like orange and chocolate. The citrussy, tangy flavour of the orange zest complements the mild flavour of the quark ice cream as well as the intense, bittersweet taste of the dark chocolate exceedingly well. Our chocolate and orange semifreddo dessert beautifully honours this iconic pairing while maintaining its wonderful texture that is characteristic of this Italian frozen dessert.

Velvety and mild semifreddo with quark

Including quark in a semifreddo dessert recipe ensures a soft, creamy texture and a velvety mouthfeel. The dairy product has a very mild, unassuming flavour but brings a delightful freshness to the rich ice cream base made with egg yolks and cream. As such, the result is a frozen dessert that is lavish without being heavy, simply melting on your tongue and bursting with flavour from the orange zest and dark chocolate.

Delicious crunch from macaroons and meringues

A dessert is perfect when it has both soft and crispy elements, and this semifreddo has it all. Crispy meringue pieces and almond macaroons are a scrumptious addition to this soft and creamy dessert. While they look decorative on top, they also add a surprising element of crunch hidden inside the dessert in delicious layers that breaks up its velvety texture in a delightful way.

Make it your own

Experimenting with semifreddo recipes is fun as the ice cream dessert may be flavoured in any number of ways. As such, you can make our recipe for semifreddo your own by using your favourite chocolate and fruit. Try adding lemon zest to the orange mixture and different kinds of chocolate to the chocolate mixture. You can also add freeze-dried raspberry or strawberry either included in the macaroon and meringue layers or inside either the chocolate or orange mixture.

You can also mix up the crunchy elements by using biscuits, cookies, and nuts in addition to or instead of the macaroons and meringue. As such, you can even make a seasonal version of the classic Italian dish by pairing holiday favourites like ginger-spiced biscuits, orange zest, chopped almonds, and mint chocolate.