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How to Make Semifreddo at Home

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Just this week senior food editor Christina Chaey polled everyone in the test kitchen: Who among us, she asked, has an ice cream maker at home? A hush fell over the stoves and stations. Everyone looked around to see if there was even a single hand raised. “Nobody!” she confirmed. “Noted!”

I don’t know what I was expecting. We love cooking projects on the food team, we develop recipes for a living, but we also all live in small apartments where each kitchen appliance has to earn its counter or cabinet space. I certainly don’t live the kind of life where an ice cream maker would make sense—I had to do a whole re-org when I bought a waffle iron—but I figured somebody I worked with would have taken the plunge. Instead, it seems all of us are Team No-Churn.

For our August issue I developed a semifreddo recipe that doesn’t rely on an ice cream maker and can flex to accommodate whatever seasonal fruit you might be stockpiling on your counter. Using the recipe as a guide, your creamy, frozen, appliance-free dessert options are endless.

Semifreddo is a cold Italian treat (it means “half frozen”) with a fluffy, frozen mousse–ish texture. Like ice cream, it usually contains eggs that you slowly cook with dairy and sugar. To simplify, this version pulls from both no-churn ice cream and semifreddo methods for the best of both worlds. That means no cooking. Yogurt or labneh acts as the base, providing just enough tang, while condensed milk adds all the sweetness you’ll need. Folding in whipped cream keeps the mixture light and scoopable (which I much prefer to the traditional semifreddo service: slices). And for good measure I call fold in finely chopped dark chocolate for stracciatella vibes.

You can dial in the flavors to your exact preferences instead of relying on the freezer aisle at the grocery store (my local never has butter pecan, which hurts my feelings). I like pairing mango with citrusy sumac, plums with sharp black pepper, and raspberries with warm, herbal cardamom, but the world is your frozen dessert oyster. Try peaches and vanilla bean, strawberries and cloves, cherries and cinnamon, or rhubarb and ground ginger. Since you’ve saved the hassle of unburying a single-function appliance down from the dusty top shelf of your pantry, you have the time to get a little creative.

Skip the churn

Overhead shot of semifreddo swirled with ribbons of plum being scooped out of a tray.
Plum–Black Pepper Yogurt Semifreddo

Swirls of sweet, jammy plum make their way into every bite of this easy no-churn frozen dessert.

View Recipe

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