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5 from 1 vote

Espresso chocolate semifreddo

This delectable espresso chocolate semifreddo is the perfect summer treat with a delicious punch of espresso complemented by a layer of rich, creamy chocolate.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Freezing time8 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Vy Tran


Espresso layer

  • 1/4 cup espresso
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate layer

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (for melting chocolate)
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  • 1/4 cup shaved chocolate for serving
  • 1 pint fresh figs for serving
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 2 tbsps powdered sugar


  • Line a 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place pan in the freezer until ready to use.
  • In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place 1 ½ cups heavy cream in the bowl and beat the cream on high speed until it thickens and forms soft peaks. Divide the cream in two containers and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • For the espresso layer, place the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over a pot of simmering water but don’t let the bottom touch the water. Beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer at medium speed, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the egg mixture to a stand mixture, add the espresso, and whisk until it becomes light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the espresso mixture. 
  • Transfer the espresso mixture to the loaf pan, smooth it with an offset spatula, and let it freeze for 2 hours. 
  • For the chocolate layer, put chocolate in a large prep bowl with a fine mesh strainer over it.
  • Bring ½ cup of heavy cream to a gentle simmer.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together.
  • While whisking the eggs constantly, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture and continue tempering the eggs until the cream is gone.
  • Pour the cream and egg mixture back into the pan and cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and coats the back of a spatula.
  • Pour custard in the strainer above the chocolate. Whisk the chocolate until it’s completely melted. Discard the scrambled eggs.
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. 
  • Transfer the chocolate mixture to the prepared loaf pan with the espresso layer. 
  • Freeze until set, at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours. 
  • Right before serving, in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place heavy cream and powdered sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
  • When ready to serve, turn the loaf pan upside down over a serving platter and unmold. Remove the plastic wrap.
  • Top with figs and shaved chocolate. 
  • Slice the semifreddo crosswise into 1-inch pieces and serve with whipped cream and extra shaved chocolate.


For this recipe, I find it easier to freeze the espresso for 2 hours before topping it with chocolate so the two layers don’t blend together. If you’re short on time, you can skip the first freezing step.
The semifreddo needs to stay in the freezer overnight for a minimum of 8 hours until solid, preferably 24 hours.