meyer lemon semifreddo

When I was preparing the menu to do my big dinner recently, I knew I wanted to do a lemon dessert. Originally I was going to make Lemon Tassies but the thought of making 24 little tarts in a mini muffin pans sounded completely exhausting to me. Instead, I kept looking for something unique to do… and something a little easier.

This recipe is … well, mostly easy. Except for the “constant 12-15 minutes of whisking over a pot of boiling water”, it is pretty easy!

We’re going to start about midway through the process for this one, since I forgot to take photos of making the base… I think I got some good arm exercises out of that one.


This is the Meyer Lemon base – is a very bright yellow, is it not? This is what you end up with after mixing egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, salt, and 1 cup of the sugar for 12 minutes. After you create the base, you let it cool completely. I actually let is cool overnight and finished this up the next morning.


This part is easy, since you can just stick it into a mixing bowl and let it go. Unless you want the arm exercise. I had enough of that the day before.

This is just two cups of heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup of sugar, mixed together until soft peaks form.


I just dug this photo of the whisk attachment. You can kind of see mini peaks!


You fold in the whipped cream in thirds so you can lightly incorporate the whipped cream to make semifreddo. See how bright the batter still is?


It really starts to lighten up in color when you add the next third line… again, gently folding it in.


Until you’re left with this light yellow colored mixture.


Take a baking/bread pan and line it with plastic wrap and then scoop the semifreddo in. Let it set and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.


The plastic wrap makes it easier to lift the whole thing out for slicing. It doesn’t really freeze all of the way and get too hard – it’s sort of a cross between a mousse and a frozen yogurt. The tartness of this still shines through but the whipped cream helps to lighten it up and give it a very smooth texture.


If I had really thought ahead, I’d probably have paired this with berries or something. Instead, I had the weird combination of chocolate brownie and meyer lemon. Ah well.

I hope you try this out sometime – it’s delicious and refreshing and a great way to use up a bunch of lemons! Recipe below:

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo
Adapted from Real Simple

6  large egg yolks
1  tablespoon  finely grated lemon zest plus 1/2 cup lemon juice (* I used the zest and juice from 4 meyer lemons)
1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
1  cup  sugar
2  cups  heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar

Set a pot of water to boil. Once it’s boiling, set it low to simmer.

Using a large heat proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, salt, and 1 cup of sugar. Set the bowl over the simmering water (make sure it does not touch the water). Cook the mixture over the simmering water while stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened slightly and starts to become opaque (12-15 minutes – took me about 12-13 minutes).

You can put the mixture through a sieve first, but I did not. Place lemon base in a bowl and put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon base. Cool completely, a minimum of 2 hours.

Using an electric mixer (woo, Kitchen Aid), whip the cream and 1/2 cup of sugar until soft peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.

You’ll want to add the whipped cream in three additions to the lemon base, gently folding the whipped cream into the lemon base.

Pour into an 8×4 inch loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

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