Delightfully Orange Semifreddo

For my brother’s birthday I decided to be the world’s best sister and cook him some tasty treats (mostly since I have no money to buy anything!). I was in the mood for orange colored food I suppose, so I made a Butternut Squash Risotto with ribs for dinner, and an Delightfully Orange Semifreddo for dessert. Oh, and my mom made a lovely funfetti cake too.  Since I made the Semifreddo first, what with the many hours of freezing time and all, I opted to tell you about it first. Also, it inspired me to change my blog from being herb based to being any type of awesome food based. It’s way more convenient this way.

I’ve made a lemon semifreddo before, and the acidic citrus tamed by the soothing whipped cream all frozen into a delightful bundle gave me the inspiration to try other citrusy fruits. Also, I was craving orange creamsicles at the time. And so my adventure with this dessert began.

I don’t have pictures of the process of making it, since I am unable to whip and take pics at the same time, so I will interject with pics of the finished product.

The ice cream with funfetti cake. A dessert made for the Gods.

At the store (with a recently remodeled entrance due to someone driving their car straight through the produce section last week) I headed straight to the oranges. I don’t really know much about different varieties, or what type would be most ideal, so I just picked the ones that were the deepest orange color that they had. I bought 3, not knowing how juicy they would be, and also not knowing if I would decide to snack on one while cooking.

After watching the finale of The Next Food Network Star, the ending which I had totally predicted months ago, I thought it was as good a time as any to get cooking. Or baking. Or mixing, I guess. It’s not really cooked, not at all baked, and mostly just mixed. First things first, it’s incredibly important to get everything set up before you get started, aka mise en place. Get the pot simmering, get your ingredients out, get a large bowl of ice water ready off to the side. Then begin.

Normally I crack the eggs first, but the oranges were my concern this time. I zested 2 of them up and got about 1 Tbsp worth of zest. It smelled so very amazing. Zest is important, as you may already know, because it’s where the most intense orange flavor comes from. And you thought it was the juice! When it came time to juice them, I discovered that I had bought the worlds most juicy oranges ever. Just one was slightly more than I wanted, and I ended up annoying myself by using only 3/4 of it and getting slightly more than 1/3 cup of juice. My mother, quite graciously, ate the other 1/4 of the orange for me.

I usually just use my Limoncello when I make a fruit flavored semifreddo, but I wanted this one to be pure orange. Instead of spending a ton of money and getting a bottle, I went the cheap route and bought a nip of Sky Orange Vodka. I used about half of it, and it was only about $1. Way better than spending all your money, unless you happen to drink orange vodka all the time. Orange rum would probably work well too.

Extreme closeup!

After that, everything was smooth sailing. I mixed the custard like a crazy person, calmly whipped the cream, and folded it all together in the most Zen-like manner.

FYI: It’s ok to use Tupperware or a Ziploc container roughly 9×5 instead of the way I say to store it in the recipe. It just won’t smoothly be pulled out and sliced in a fashionable way.

Printer Version


1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 Tbsp orange liquor
Pinch of salt
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

Grease a 9×5 metal pan, line it with plastic wrap with extra hanging over the sides, and grease again if you want to slice it later. Or just set aside a freezer friendly sealed container.

Set a pot to simmer with about an inch of water, making sure that your large metal mixing bowl will not touch the water.

Prepare an ice bath in a wide bowl, bigger than your large metal mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the metal mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the sugar, egg yolks, orange juice and zest, salt, and liquor. Put bowl over the simmering water, checking to make sure the water doesn’t reach the bowl, and whisk until mixture is thick and creamy, about 10 minutes. Place bowl into ice bath to stop cooking and cool it down.

In another large bowl, blend the heavy cream, vanilla, and 1/4 of sugar with an electric mixer until firm peaks are formed.

Gently fold whipped cream into custard. Pour into metal tin and fold plastic wrap over the top. Freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.

For some reason I keep getting weird spam comments on this post, so I have to close commenting on it!