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Food & Entertaining

Nectarine Dessert

Author: Sydney Dye
Issue: July, 2015

Juicy nectarines add summer flavor to a frozen Italian dessert

In Italian, semifreddo (say-mee-FRAY-doh) means “half cold.” It’s also a light and airy frozen dessert perfect to serve on warm summer evenings.

Our recipe for Nectarine Semifreddo combines classic ingredients of whipped cream and custard with succulent, in-season fruit. With no baking necessary, this easy-to-make after-dinner treat can be made ahead of time and kept chilled until it is shared. Swap nectarines for strawberries, peaches, berries or apricots, and the flavor possibilities multiply. 

Serves 8-10

Nectarine Semifreddo

6  ripe but firm nectarines, divided
1 1/2  cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
2  tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/3  cup sugar
6  large egg yolks
1  tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Chef’s Notes:

Additional flavor suggestions: Meyer lemon with berries, honey with lavender, strawberry with pistachio, raspberry with aged balsamic vinegar, apricot with thyme

Recipe can be made up to three days ahead if kept frozen.

Photography by Garrett Cook
1. Line a 9-by-5-by-3-inch metal loaf pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap, one length wise and one across the width of the pan, leaving generous overhangs.

2. Pit and slice 2 nectarines. Arrange half of the slices in a single layer along the bottom of the pan. Dice the leftover slices and set aside for garnish.

3. Pit and cut the remaining 4 nectarines and purée in a food processor (leave small bits of nectarine for texture) and set aside. The yield should be approximately 1 cup.

4. In a chilled bowl, beat heavy whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until soft peaks form. Refrigerate.

5. Whisk together sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl. Suspend bowl over a large saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and whisk constantly until yolk mixture is thick and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl; do not let eggs cook. Remove from heat and whisk an additional 3-4 minutes until cool, thick and doubled in volume.

6. Add nectarine purée and mix until completely incorporated.

7. Fold in chilled whipped cream. Transfer mixture to loaf pan and smooth the top with spatula. Tap loaf pan lightly on work surface to remove air pockets. Fold plastic-wrap overhangs over top to cover.

8. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

9. To serve, turn loaf pan over onto a serving dish and remove plastic wrap. Garnish with diced nectarines. Serve immediately.

Sydney Dye is a home gardener, chef and owner of First Fig Culinary Adventures in Scottsdale. (
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