Summer on a plate – lemon meringue semifreddo recipe

Fresh, light, sweet and zesty, this lemon meringue semifreddo recipe brings all the best of a lemon meringue pie and puts it in an ice cream. The perfect sweet for summer. Here’s how to make it.

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year – and not just because my birthday’s the week before. In Australia, it’s when the summer really gets started and with it comes parties.

Jim does most of the cooking in our house, but every now and again I feel the inspiration to get in the kitchen myself. Usually it’s when there’s a party to cater for.

In the past, I’ve shared a few of my favourites before like this cheese and olive Christmas tree or my best tips on how to make a beautiful platter. I’ve also shared my mum’s secrets to her never-fail pavlova recipe.

Today though, I have the details on a new creation I found in a Facebook group I’m in.

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe

This lemon meringue semifreddo recipe is actually from a New Zealand sugar company – pretty random – but it’s absolutely incredible.

Rich, velvety semifreddo with a zing of lemon citrus and delightful crunch of meringue – this is a dessert is a real crowd-pleaser.

What’s the difference between semifreddo, gelato and ice cream?

The difference between gelato and ice cream is quite tricky and often has Italians in hysterics when it’s wrong. Basically the water/ice content is less in gelato, which means the cream content is usually higher.

But semifreddo is more like a frozen mousse than ice cream or gelato. It has even less ice in it than gelato, which means it’s not as cold either. And the name ‘semifreddo’ means ‘semi-cold’.

You also don’t churn semifreddo like you do with gelato and ice cream.

If you’ve had an ice cream cake or tart in a restaurant or from a shop, chances are they used a semifreddo.

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe

Lemon meringue semifreddo recipe

This recipe combines three elements into one bowl, so you need to make each part separately.

Takes about 30-45 minutes to make and must be frozen overnight

Here’s what you need:

Lemon syrup

– ½ cup caster sugar
– ¾ cup lemon juice (approx. 3 lemons)

Egg mousse

– 3 whole eggs
– 3 egg yolks
– ½ cup caster sugar

Lemon cream

– 1½ cups cream
– 1 tbsp lemon rind, finely grated

Other things

– 75g store-bought small meringues*
– Small loaf tin – ours is about 21x11x7cm
– Enough plastic wrap to line the tin completely

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe - ingredients

Here’s what you do:

1. For the lemon syrup, dissolve the caster sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly. Don’t let the syrup get too thick or turn golden though.

2. Allow the lemon syrup to cool for about 20 mins.

3. For the egg mousse, combine the eggs, the extra yolks and the caster sugar in a glass bowl, then heat the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk for about 5 minutes – you want the mixture to go quite frothy.

4. Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until thick and pale.

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe - whisking the eggs

5. For the lemon cream, beat with an electric mixer until you see soft peaks then gently fold in the lemon zest.

6. Gently fold in the egg mousse with the lemon cream.

7. Carefully drizzle and stir the cooled lemon syrup through the mousse-cream mixture.

8. Line the loaf tin with cling wrap and put in the meringues whole. Don’t break them up or they’ll just dissolve in the mixture. We used meringue nests, which just fit.

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe - meringues

9. Pour the mixture over the meringues, then cover with foil and freeze overnight.

10. Ease the solid semifreddo onto a plate and cut into thick slices.

*If you really want to go the extra mile, you can use the leftover egg whites to make your own meringues… we just put them towards a few amaretto sours!

Lemon Meringue Semifreddo Recipe - serving suggestion

I was really impressed with how simple this was to make and will definitely be putting this on the Christmas table after all the prawns and turkey have been cleared away.

Do you have a favourite dessert for Christmas or summer? Tell us your sweet-tooth secrets in the comments below!


  • Reply December 13, 2023


    This looks so good! What a great combination of flavors!

    • Reply December 13, 2023

      Mr Romance

      It’s delicious, Suzanne! We’re making it again this Christmas!

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