For my latest dinner party, I was on the hunt for a showstopping, seasonally focused dessert that didn't require turning on the oven. The first thing that came to mind? A semifreddo. The dessert, which translates to "half-frozen" in Italian, can really refer to anything that's been somewhat chilled or frozen, but this version, from New York restaurateur Donatella Arpaia, is stunningly simple, with little more than strawberries, a pinch of sugar and liqueur, and cream. Serve in dramatic fashion — sliced uniformly with strawberries and sauce for garnish — and your guests will be duly impressed. Ready for the season's best no-cook dessert? Then get the recipe here.
4 cups strawberries, hulled, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Tuaca, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh mint, cut into thin strips, for garnish (optional)
- Line an 8" or 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pan, if using, with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Combine the strawberries, sugar, and liqueur in the bowl of a food processor and purée. Reserve 1 cup. Pour the remaining purée into a large bowl. Whip the cream in another bowl using an electric mixer until soft peaks for when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Fold the cream into the purée using a rubber spatula, working from the bottom of the bowl until there are no signs of cream left. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
- Invert the semifreddo onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap, and when slightly softened, smooth the top with a knife. Cut into 3/4" or 1" thick slices and garnish with strawberries, mint (if desired), and some of the reserved purée drizzled on top.
- Desserts, Frozen
- Serves 6 to 8