Whipped coconut cream, vanilla-vodka zabaglione, and meringue enfolding a tart ribbon of blueberry puree. This Coconut Cream Semifreddo with Blueberries is what all ice cream wishes it could be — sophisticated, creamy, with a delicate texture. Of course, it’s low carb and dairy-free, too.
My parents are visiting next week and guess what I have in the freezer waiting for them? Guess? Yes, it’s this beautiful and delicious semifreddo. I’m so excited! I also have a container of Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream and Lemon Buttermilk Popsicles. It’s supposed to be hot and I want to be prepared. Also, my father LOVES ice cream (and cookies). And, just in case we don’t have enough dessert, I have a French Silk Pie on-ice, too. I think we should be set!
Now, on to our recipe. It’s a good one!
Traditional semifreddo is a wonderful, frozen Italian treat perfect for those who do not have an ice cream maker. It’s a fancy dessert usually frozen in a deep dish, then un-moulded and sliced when ready to serve. A preparation of a traditional semifreddo consists of three parts: a whipped cream, a zabaglione (or sabayon in French) and a meringue which are folded together to create a light and beautiful textured confection. The word simifreddo means partially frozen, which describes this dessert perfectly.
I can guess that some of you are thinking this dessert sounds complicated.
I can guess that some of you are thinking it’s a lot of steps.
I’m here to assure you that it’s not complicated and that after making a semifreddo twice, you’ll want to make it for your all of your fancy guests!
So, don’t freak-out!
I wrote a lot of instructions.
Each step takes less than 10 minutes.
BUT, in the spirit of simplifying and saving time, I tested this recipe 5 times, preparing it 3 different ways, to find the best balance between flavor, texture and ease. I found that the traditional method was the best, hands down!
- The first time I made this low carb coconut cream semifreddo recipe, I did it old school. I whipped the coconut cream, made the zabaglione and then the meringue. I folded the first two together and then folded in the meringue and some fresh raspberries. I spooned it into an almond pie crust. It was beautiful and pillowy soft. When I served it, the semifreddo was lovely, but the fruit was hard as a rock. Why? The semifreddo was mostly fat, so it didn’t freeze as hard and thawed at a faster rate than the fruit, which is mostly water.
- The second time I made this coconut cream semifreddo, I again used the traditional method, but used a blueberry puree instead of fresh fruit. I also topped it with a blueberry sauce. It was perfect. (pictured)
- The third time I tried a different approach; hoping to eliminate a step or two. I made a custard out of the coconut cream and eggs, that I hoped would serve to replace the zabablione and whipped coconut cream steps. It would not whip, froze absolutely rock solid, and tasted like a rich French vanilla ice cream. I liked the taste, but the method needed work.
- The fourth time, I whipped the coconut cream from one can of coconut milk. With the coconut cream from the other can, I made a pastry cream. I folded both of them together and froze. While it was much lighter than the third trial, it lacked the airiness obtained from the traditional method.
- For the fifth version of this semifreddo, I used whipped coconut cream only. It was o-k-a-y, but it lacked the consistency and the rich flavor of the original. Also, the mouth feel was a bit greasy.
TRADITIONAL SEMIFREDDO METHOD WINS!!!
And, it’s not hard to do. A hand mixer makes it easier, but a simple whisk and elbow grease will do the trick. Here’s what one can expect: (I have linked to two helpful videos below.)
- Whip the coconut cream: 2 minutes
- Make the zabaglione: 6-8 minutes
- Make the meringue: 6-8 minutes
- Blueberry Puree: 2 minutes hands-on time, 30 minutes total cooking time. Can be made 1 week in advance.
The Semifreddo starts with whipped coconut cream. If you haven’t made it before, watch this video (starring my husband’s hands) on my post How To Make Whipped Coconut Cream. It is very easy.
Here is a video of a semifreddo being made step-by-step, from beginning to end.
Again, don’t freak-out when you see the recipe. I try to be very thorough in the instructions.
This sumptious Coconut Cream Semifreddo with Blueberries is 5 net carbs per serving!
[Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links.]
Coconut Cream Semifreddo with Blueberries
Blueberry Puree -- 30 minutes
Whipped Coconut Cream -- 2 minutes
Zabligone -- 6-8 minutes
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons Swerve Swerve is best but can use powdered erythritol
- 2 tablespoons vanilla flavored vodka
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon stevia glycerite
Meringue -- 6-8 minutes
- 4 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons Swerve swerve is best but can use powdered erythritol
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Blueberry Topping optional
- For the Blueberry Puree: Weigh and wash the blueberries. Put them in a small sauce pan with 1 tablespoon water, two tablespoons lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and ¼ cup Swerve (or erythritol). Cook covered over medium low heat until simmering, then turn the heat to low and simmer, covered for 10 minutes more. Transfer the softened blueberries to a blender and puree on low speed. Transfer the blueberry puree back to the sauce pan and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes more stirring every few minutes. The blueberry puree should be syrupy, intense in flavor and coat the spoon when stirred. Remove the puree from the heat an add the stevia glycerite, almond extract and vanilla. Stir and cool completely. There should be about 3/4 of a cup of puree. It can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
- To Make the Whipped Coconut Cream: Remove the cans of coconut milk from the refrigerator, gently turn them over, open, and pour out the liquid or coconut water. (This water can be saved and added to smoothies or discarded.) Scoop the solid coconut cream from the cans and add it to a bowl. Add the Swerve and whisk on high until the coconut cream resembles whipped cream. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and stevia and whip again. Cover and refrigerate
- For the Zabaglione: Select a small heat-proof bowl big enough that it can sit on top of a small pot of barely simmering water and not touch the water. Fill a small pot with one inch of water and place over medium-high to start simmering. Pour the Swerve and vodka in the small bowl and whisk together starting to dissolve the sweetener. Seperate the eggs and add the yolks to the bowl, whisking to combine. Turn the water down to low and place the bowl over the pot of barely simmering water. With an electric hand mixer, begin beating the zabaglione on a medium speed. Watch the mixture carefully to make sure the egg yolk doesn't scramble. Over the next several minutes, the zabaglione will triple in volume, become very glossy and turn a pale yellow color. When this is acheived, remove it from the heat and scrape it into another bowl to cool.
- Wash the bowl and the beaters really well. There can't be any fat left on either of them or the meringue in the next step will fail. But even if it starts to deflate, if you work quickly, your semifreddo will still be light and delicious, just not quite as light.
- To Make the Meringue: Place the Swerve, pinch of salt and cream of tartar in the bowl and stir together. Add the egg whites and place the bowl over the barely simmering water. With the hand mixer on medium-low start whipping the meringue, increasing speed as the volume increases. When stiff peaks are acheived, remove the bowl from the heat and place it on the counter. Continue whipping at a reduced speed until the bottom of the bowl cools a bit.
- To Assemble the Coconut Cream Semifreddo: Line a large bread pan with enough plastic wrap that several inches of excess hangs down over each side. Put it in the freezer. Remove the blueberry puree from the refrigerator and give it a good stir, especially if a skin has formed on the top. Set aside.
- Remove the whipped coconut cream and the zabaglione from the fridge. Begin adding the zabaglione to the whipped coconut cream in thirds. The first third is gently stirred-in to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in additions two and then three. Now, we'll do the same thing with the meringue. Add a third of the meringue mixture to the whipped coconut cream mixture, gently folding to lighten it up. Make sure to scrape from the bottom to incorporate everything. Add the second and then third additions of meringue, folding very gently each time.
- To Assemble the Coconut Cream Semifreddo and Blueberries in the Mold: Remove the plastic wrapped bread pan from the freezer. Gently add 1/3 of the semifreddo mixture to the pan and tap it once on the counter. Add 1/3 of the blueberry puree over the layer. Gently add another third of the semifreddo to the improvised tureen. Add another layer of blueberry puree finishing with the last of the semifreddo. Doing the best you can, spoon the last of the blueberry puree over the semifreddo in a rounded zig-zag pattern, short-side to short-side down the length of the surface of the semifreddo. It doesn't have to be perfect because it will become the bottom when un-molded. Insert a butter knife or a thin spatula into the semifreddo, just about touching the bottom and make the same rounded zig-zag pattern - this time from long-side to long-side, making a pretty pattern on the top (er... bottom) of the semifreddo. Gently cover the surface of the semifreddo with the plastic wrap and freeze.
- To Serve: Remove the Coconut Cream Semifreddo from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes to allow it to warm up a bit. Peel back the plastic wrap, and holding the pan in one hand and the serving platter on top with the other, flip the semmifreddo up-side-down onto the serving platter to un-mold. Remove the plastic wrap. If you want, dip an offset spatula in warm water and gently smoth the surface of the semifreddo. Slice the semifreddo and serve as is or with a blueberry topping.