Chocolate Cranberry Semifreddo

This Chocolate Cranberry Semifreddo is half ice cream, half mousse.  It doesn’t require any special equipment, it is make ahead and deliciously decadent.

What a perfect dessert for the holidays , or any time for that matter!

This  chocolate, cranberry combination lends itself to fall and winter holiday flavours.  In the summer you could use other flavours like pistachio and cherries without the cocoa.  Strawberries and toasted almonds…. Use your imagination!

Semifreddo means ‘half-frozen’ in Italian.  The texture is half way between ice cream and mousse.  You don’t have to take it out of the freezer before serving like you do for homemade ice cream.

Chocolate Cranberry Semi Freddo

This dessert is rather rich. The recipe says it is for 12 servings but if you are serving it at the end of a big meal and perhaps passing a tray of holiday cookies as well you could get 24 servings by halving it up the middle lengthwise before cutting.

The sugared cranberries for decoration are optional but  the contrast of the sweet and tart goes really well with this dessert.  Plus… you can make a few extras for snacks!

Sugared Cranberries

Loaf shaped chocolate semifreddo decorated with cocao powder and sugared cranberries.

Chocolate Cranberry Semi Freddo

Easy, delicious and make ahead.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 mins
Chilling Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 8 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings


  • 2/3 cup dried cranberrries
  • 2 Tbsps brandy Sub water if you don't want alcohol
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  • sugared cranberries optional


  • Rough chop dried cranberries. Add brandy and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside while you make the rest of the semifreddo.
  • Set a heat proof glass bowl in a sauce pan with a few inches of water on the bottom. Bring water to a gentle simmer. Stir chocolate pieces often to help them melt. Set aside when fully melted. (Reserve sauce pan with water.)
  • Whip cream to soft peaks and store in the fridge till needed.
  • In a separate bowl whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Place bowl in the sauce pan of simmering water and whisk with a whisk or beat with beaters a couple of minutes until volume has doubled and the beater leaves a ribbon when lifted. Remove from heat.
  • Gently stir in the melted chocolate till well incorporated. Allow mixture to cool about 10 minutes.
  • Line a 9 X 5 " loaf pan with plastic wrap. Tuck it deep into the corners for the best shaped loaf. Fold whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in 2 batches. Fold gently until evenly mixed.
  • Gently fold in the cranberries and pistachios. Ensure they are evenly distributed in the loaf. Pour into the loaf pan. Cover and freeze 8 hours at least or until ready to serve.
  • To serve, invert the loaf pan onto a plate. You may find it easier to work with if you let it rest 5-10 minutes after removing from the freezer. Sift cocoa on top and sides. Decorate with sugared cranberries if using.
  • Cut with a sharp warm knife and wipe knife after each cut.


Note1:  Semifreddo can be frozen in an airtight container for a couple of weeks ahead of time.  Sugared cranberries can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.  Sprinkle with cocoa and decorate with sugared cranberries same day as serving.
Recipe credit goes to LCBO 2005 Holiday issue.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g
Chocolate Cranberry Semifreddo

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