Cranberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Semifreddo, which means “half cold” in Italian, is a frozen dessert offering a perfect balance between the creaminess of ice cream and the lightness of mousse.

A hint of orange liqueur in the cranberry-nut mixture goes a long way and the orange zest offers subtle nuances of fresh citrus. This elegant dessert is the perfect end to a heavy meal.

A semifreddo is soft and creamy like a traditional ice cream, but denser and silkier with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The base is a blank canvas of whipped cream, sugar and egg yolks. This mixture can be flavoured with various ingredients. For this recipe, we’ve added cranberries, briefly soaked in orange liqueur, plus toasted pistachios and fresh raspberries, which we happened to find on sale. You could substitute fresh strawberries or leave out berries entirely. Frozen berries can be used, just purée them or lightly mash with a fork before adding.

Cranberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Light and tasty, this semifreddo serves 10-12. If you are allergic to nuts, omit them.
Author Wanda Baker


  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • zest of 1 medium orange


  • Toss dried cranberries with Grand Marnier and set aside. Stir occasionally ensuring they all get a little liqueur on them.
  • Toast the pistachios in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool.
  • In a food processor, combine pistachios, cranberries and Grand Marnier. Pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
  • In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler) and whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken and becomes pale, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold vanilla and orange zest into the whipped cream.
  • Fold in the cooled egg yolk mixture.
  • Pour half the semifreddo mixture into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Tap on counter a few times to help mixture settle. Layer on the cranberry nut mixture keeping some aside to use a garnish. Sprinkle on raspberries. Pour the remaining mixture on top, tap on counter again, and cover with excess plastic wrap. Add another piece of plastic wrap on top to cover and protect while in the freezer.
  • Freeze overnight until firm.
  • To serve, remove from the freezer and let sit for a few minutes, unmold the semifreddo onto your serving platter, and garnish with extra cranberry nut mixture, shelled pistachios, dried cranberries, and fresh raspberries.