Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo
Featuring a raspberry sauce made with limoncello,
this Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo is a perfect way to welcome in warmer temperatures!
Capri is an island located off the Italian coast near Naples. Capri is also one of my favorite places in the entire world. From the craggy cliffs to the windy roads to the crystal clear blue water, I’m fairly certain I could settle down in Capri and be one happy dude. I visited Capri for an afternoon back when I studied in Italy during college. I immediately fell in love, so it’s no surprise that Capri was a must-visit when my wife and I went to Italy on our honeymoon several years ago. (We traveled all over Italy, and she ranked Capri and the Chianti region as her favorite spots.)
Capri has been a resort location since the days of the Roman empire. The emperors Augustus and Tiberius both had lavish villas on Capri, and both would visit to escape the craziness of Rome. As a former Latin teacher and Roman history guy, this whole side of Capri’s history makes the island even more appealing to me. (For some reason, tromping off looking at ruins of a wall that were once part of Tiberius’ villa just didn’t appeal as much to my wife…but she was a trooper for my sake!)
As if the views and food weren’t enough, one of our favorite moments on Capri was when we hung out with members of a French Rotary Club who were also vacationing in Capri. Short version of the story: There was a group of people making a bunch of noise outside of our hotel room one afternoon.
We peeked out of the back door to see a group of older French folks celebrating with a late-afternoon bottle of wine…or two or six. As soon as they saw us, they invited us out to visit. The only problem was we didn’t speak French, and they spoke very broken English. But we communicated via charades and hand signals. Wine truly is a universal language!
If you’ve ever traveled to Capri, then you’re certainly familiar with limoncello. Lemon trees grow all over the island, and limoncello is a liqueur made from these lemons. Laura and I picked up a couple of bottles of limoncello in Capri, and one of those bottles may or may not have been in our backpack each day as we explored the island. Seriously, though…when in Rome…err, Capri…
Limoncello can be found easily enough here in the States, and I used a bit of limoncello for the raspberry sauce on top of this Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo. Translated as half-cold, semifreddo is closely related to ice cream. Instead of adding cream and then churning the mixture into ice cream, the cream in semifreddo is whipped first. Then the whole mixture is frozen and served the next day. I like to think of semifreddo as no-churn ice cream’s classy older cousin.
But here’s the thing about semifreddo: it’s incredibly easy to make! Aside from whipping the cream and then cooking the egg yolk + sugar mixture, there’s really nothing else to it. And it’s an impressive dessert to serve. This Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo is a favorite around our house. It’s quite tart by itself, but the sweetened raspberry sauce (made with limoncello!) helps balance that tartness. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!
Have you ever been to Capri?
What are your thoughts about limoncello?
Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo
For the Semifreddo
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice ~3 lemons
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest ~1 lemon
- 1¼ cups + 1 Tbsp sugar
- 7 large egg yolks
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
For the Raspberry Sauce
- 2 cups raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp limoncello
- Additional fresh raspberries
For the Semifreddo
- Line a standard 9”x5” loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving at least 3” of wrap overhanging on both of the longer edges of the pan; set pan aside.
- Whip cream until soft peaks form; place in refrigerator to chill until later.
- Using a large metal bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, 1¼ cups sugar and egg yolks. Set bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Whisk constantly for 4-5 minutes, or until mixture thickens noticeably. (Note: If you have a kitchen thermometer, this mixture should reach 170°F.)
- Remove bowl from over saucepan. Using an electric mixer, beat for 5-6 minutes, or until mixture has cooled and approximately doubled in volume.
- Meanwhile, using a medium bowl, gently muddle the raspberries and the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar with the back of a spoon.
- Once the lemon mixture has cooled, fold in the muddled raspberries and whipped cream.
- Transfer mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Tap pan lightly on countertop to remove air pockets. Fold overhanging plastic wrap over top of pan and freeze for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
For the Raspberry Sauce
- Using a medium bowl, muddle the raspberries, sugar and limoncello until well combined. Press mixture through a fine-meshed sieve to remove seeds.
- Remove plastic wrap from top of semifreddo. Invert onto serving plate and discard plastic wrap.
- Pour raspberry sauce on top and garnish with additional fresh raspberries. (Tip: To slice semifreddo, dip knife in hot water and cut into 1” slices.)
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Have only been to Milan, and I’m sorta ashamed that I haven’t traveled more throughout the country. Especially when you think about how much I love Italian food. Not to mention the desserts! The limoncello looks great!
Funny enough, Milan is one of the few places in Italy that I haven’t been yet. I’ve been bugging Laura to take a trip somewhere soon…so maybe Milan will be on the list! As long as I can get Italian food, I’ll be perfectly happy. 🙂
I’ve never been to Italy, but it’s definitely on hubby and I’s list as places we would love to visit. Sounds absolutely amazing. And, I definitely agree, wine is a universal language 😉 Everything from the scenery to the food, to the culture, must be soooo awesome.
This semifreddo looks delicious, David; I’ve never had, but something I’m absolutely certain I would enjoy….I mean, can’t go wrong with ingredients like cream, raspberries, limoncello, can ya? Pinning this one, of course! Thanks for sharing another great recipe and hope you have a great weekend!
Oh my gosh…put Italy on your list, Dawn! It’s such an incredible country. From the history to the food to the wine to the food to the…ok, you get the point! Give semifreddo a shot sometime, Dawn. It’s a unique dessert, and it’s definitely reminiscent of ice cream…but it’s not ice cream at all. Hope you have an awesome weekend yourself!
Now I love rambling around ruins – though hanging with that group from the French Rotary Club could make for one interesting evening – how cool of them to invite y’all to join ’em – but then again, you and Laura are pretty darn cool yourselves!
Speaking of cool – this Semifreddo sounds delightful – I’ve never had limoncello – but frozen whipping cream is hard to say no to – even for my lactose intolerant self! 🙂
It was such a surreal experience, Shashi! There we were in Italy (we only speak very broken Italian…and that’s being generous) and suddenly we’re hanging out with a group of French travelers. Crazy stuff…but they were awesome!
David this time you´ve outdone yourself! This looks seriously (I´m not joking!) amazzzing!! Your photos are beautiful too!!
ps. Capri is on my list of places to see. I can´t wait to return to Italy!! 🙂
Definitely put Capri on your list, Johlene! I wouldn’t mind seeing a travel post from Capri. 🙂 Heck, you might even see me wandering the streets over there…it’s definitely on my list to get back to as soon as possible!
Beautiful pictures. Wonderful story! (When are you going to write a book…?)
Write a book? Hahaha…I don’t think I have the gumption to write a book. Or if I did, then it would have to be like 1,500 1-page chapters! Thank you so much, Heather…you are too kind! 🙂
Hi David! What a perfect summertime dessert! Raspberries are one of my favorite berries. We had raspberry bushes when we first moved here but for some reason they died off after a few years. I need to get some limoncello! It’s always fun to hook up with new people, especially when wine is involved!
Oh my gosh, our raspberry bushes are going insane up here, Dorothy. I think we must have just gotten lucky with location/soil condition. (The annoying part is the little bugs that get in the berries…so you end up having to soak them in salt(ish) water to get the bugs out. Bah!) Grab some limoncello, Dorothy and have a great weekend…after all, limoncello makes everything better, right? 🙂
First of all, I’m loving the new blog design! It’s awesome. That slider makes the photos pop even more!
And I would love to party with people using charades. All you really need is to be able to gesture for “more, please” and “this is SO good!”
Speaking of, wow. This is gorgeous. I love semifreddo. Now we just need for summer to hurry up and get here. Well, those of us who aren’t in Capri right now…
Thank you so much, Mir! The blog design is a work in progress, but it’s getting there slowly. 🙂 I appreciate your comment! So the charades with the French group consisted of them trying to describe an American movie to us while we guessed it. It ended up being an old Western movie that I had never really heard of…so that made the game of charades all that much more fun! And if only I was in Capri right now…I might be heading off to daydream for the next hour now. Thanks for that!
Semifreddo is what we called my brother, Frederich, when he was little. Of course, now he insists on being called tuttofreddo. I made a semifreddo back in the early days of learning to cook. It was so easy! And so delicious! I kind of moved on and looked for more challenges, but che idiota if I don’t go back to making semifreddo! It’s such a huge taste-bang for your labor-buck, and on top of that, very impressive. I make them in individual servings, atop a graham cracker crust, using small ring molds.
Hah! I have no idea whether you’re pulling my leg or not, Jeff…but semifreddo is indeed a good nickname for lil Fred! Now I like where you are going with this one. Individual semifreddos with graham crackers on top. Please make me one of those? And on a somewhat related note, isn’t challenging yourself in the kitchen so much fun? That’s what keeps me coming back each day and enjoying this crazy world we call blogging!
Would love to visit Capri – I have never been but you really made me curious! Love how language is not an issue at all after one or two or six bottles of wine 😉 The Lemon Raspberry Semifreddo looks impressive! Looking forward to alfresco dinners in the sunshine.
Oh, you should definitely put Capri on your list, Miriam…it’s such an incredible place. Just go google photos. Seriously. It’s one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever visited. And yes to the sunshine! It’s supposed to be nice and warm here today (rainy tomorrow)…so I’m thinking dinner outside on the porch tonight!
Man, you and Laura have the best experiences ever- That is so random yet so fun- Random invites to drink vino! So, I LOVE limoncello because erm…it was one of my underage drinks I actually enjoyed (with a sugar rim). This semifreddo looks incredible, in the meantime, I’ll have a Capri sun (the drink).
That was indeed a great experience. Random, but great. But it was also a couple of years ago. Lately, our experiences have been figuring out what size diaper Robbie should wear at night. That’s a far cry from drinking wine in Capri with a bunch of French travelers. I’ll see you a Capri Sun, and I raise you a sugared-rim limoncello. Now which one do you want??
Obviously…I’ve been out for a while and came back to a whole new logo and fresh design. Love it! And I can’t stop thinking of taking a break from work and limoncello. But semifreddo works for now….
Well the new logo and design aren’t that old, Linda…you haven’t missed much! They are a work in progress, but they’re getting there. 🙂 Thank you! There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from work and daydreaming about limoncello…or Capri…or semifreddo. In fact, I think it’s about time for another daydreaming break over here!
That sounds like an awesome vacation! & this semifreddo is amazing – who couldn’t love this lemon raspberry combo?
Lemon raspberry is indeed an excellent combo, Megan! But the best part is the daydreaming back to the vacation. In fact, some of our favorite foods are ones which remind us of various vacations or events. Know what I mean? 🙂
Raspberries and lemon are so delicious together, what a brilliant summery dessert!
Thank you so much! It’s finally getting warm(er) outside, so let’s grab some semifreddo and limoncello and relax!
looks so refreshing David! Lemon and Raspberry are made for each other! thanks for sharing all the info about Capri, would love to visit it sometime!
Definitely put Capri on your vacay list, Manali…it’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been! But in the meantime, sit down and enjoy some of this warmer weather…with a slice of semifreddo of course! 🙂
I’ve never been to Italy. I’ve never made semifreddo either. But I certainly love all kinds of ice cream and limoncello (Once I made limoncello tiramisu – you may like this idea too). And even though it’s obvious, I have to mention that this dessert is truly amazing and fantastically looking! Great work, David!
Well, clearly we need to get you to Italy and also get you to make semifreddo! Limoncello tiramisu, you say? I’m intrigued. Tell me more…and then send me a sample! 🙂 Thanks so much, Ben!
We’ve yet to hit up Italy, a definite must see for the food and history. Two of our travel requirements! While I don’t drink alcohol anymore, I do cook with it and this sauce with the limoncello sounds quite tasty. What caught my eye here was your presentation of the semifreddo. Not in the usual scoop mode or in a bowl, but laid out as is with the raspberries and sauce anointing it. Beautiful!
Thanks so much, Kevin! I had a fun time making this semifreddo…and the sauce dripping over the edge was just fun. Yeah, I can be a food nerd like that. 🙂 You guys definitely need to put Italy on your list. Hands down my favorite place to vacation!
I just made this for my Christmas work lunch and it was a big hit like I mean the room went quiet while all was eating and the umms and arres coming from them was funny I must admit it was DEVINE
Hey Margaret! Wow…thank you! This comment totally made my day. 🙂 I’ve never thought about making this one during the holidays, but it makes sense. It’s colorful and fun, and it really is quite tasty. I’m so glad you (and your coworkers) loved it! Thanks for coming back and leaving a note, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!