Semifreddo, made popular in Italy, is a rich and creamy Italian dessert meaning “half-frozen”. It is a freezer cake that resembles both an icebox cake and ice cream. Instead of baking, this dessert only requires assembly and freezing time.
Keeping with the Italian inspiration, this Easy Semifreddo Espresso Tiramisu Recipe is one of the best no-bake desserts ever! It is an easy, yet impressive dessert that is perfect for summertime dinner parties or supper in the garden. Everyone wants a nice, cool dessert on a hot evening!
This tiramisu-inspired half-frozen dessert features ladyfingers, espresso, and mascarpone cheese. These are all integral ingredients for homemade tiramisu, which has a creamy, coffee-scented, sweet cheese filling. Fans of ice cream and tiramisu will absolutely love this dessert.
To make the tiramisu cream layer, you will need mascarpone, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and instant espresso powder. This creates a cheesecake-like cream filling that is tart, sweet, and very caffeinated. This layer will freeze, creating a softened ice cream consistency in the final dish.
You can take help from the store here by using packaged ladyfingers. They are perfectly dry and crisp, which is what you want in this dessert. The cookies are soaked in coffee and brandy at first to soften. Then, they are layered within the cheese filling before freezing for at least 4 hours. The cookies soak up all moisture and turn into a cake-like texture upon freezing.
Serving this icy dessert could not be easier. It can hang out in the freezer for as long as needed before serving. Be sure to remove it from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving so that the semifreddo can soften. Top it all off with some cocoa powder, a classic finish to traditional tiramisu.
Line a 9×5 loaf pan with a few layers of plastic wrap, covering the inside completely. Allow for the wrap to greatly hang over the sides, as you will be covering the top of the semifreddo later. Using a flavorless nonstick spray, grease the inside of the lined loaf pan.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth, light, and fluffy. Do this over medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream. Once all of the cream is added, increase the speed to medium. Beat until the mixture forms soft peaks.
Again, with the mixer on low, slowly add the sweetened condensed milk to the whipped cream mixture. Also, beat in the vanilla and instant espresso powder.
Beat on medium to medium-high until the mixture achieves stiff peaks. This may take up to 2-3 minutes.
Add the brewed espresso and brandy/amaretto to a shallow bowl.
Scoop ⅓ of the espresso cream into your prepared loaf pan. Smooth to an even layer with a spatula.
Briefly dip enough ladyfingers into the espresso mixture to create a single layer of cookies on top of the cream layer.
Add another ⅓ of the espresso cream on top of the cookies. Top with another layer of dipped ladyfingers. Finish with the remaining cream and smooth out the top.
Tap the loaf pan lightly on the counter to release any large air bubbles. Cover the top with the plastic wrap overhang and place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours to freeze.
After at least 4 hours, remove the semifreddo from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. This will allow for the perfect serving consistency.
Invert the semifreddo onto a plate and remove the layer of plastic wrap. Add some cocoa powder to a sifter and top the dessert with a dusting of cocoa.
Serve in slices.