Cardamom Coffee Semi Freddo Recipe

I never grew up with the taste of cardamom, a spice far more common in Middle Eastern cooking. But a few years ago I tasted a cardamom iced coffee from Hampton Chutney Co in New York and I fell in love immediately. Each summer I looked forward to indulging in a sweet, spiced cardamom iced coffee on hot summer days, and sometimes I even make my own by steeping a few pods in a freshly brewed cup of coffee or espresso.

It also so happens that even while I am a pretty decent baker and cook, my ice cream-making skills are a bit sub par. I can never quite reach that super creamy consistency that is so coveted. But I found a way to combine my love for cardamom iced coffee and my novice ice cream-making skills with this semi-freddo.

semi-freddo vert

Semi-freddo literally means half frozen, because the mixture never freezes completely. There’s no ice cream machine or special equipment involved. This will look really impressive to your family or guests, and you will wonder why it’s taken so long to make this delicious dessert. Experiment with flavors to your liking!

Cardamom Coffee Semi Freddo


1/2 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee

3-4 whole cardamom pods

8 egg yolks

1 cup sugar, divided

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp vanilla


Brew coffee or espresso and add cardamom pods. Allow to sit 20-30 minutes, then strain coffee to remove pods.

Prep a loaf pan with non-stick spray and then line with plastic wrap on all sides. Set aside.

Whisk ½ cup of sugar with egg yolks, espresso and salt in a large metal bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. There should only be about 1 inch of water on bottom of pan.

Prep a large bowl of ice water. Set aside.

Whisk egg yolk mixture for 5-6 minutes, until thick and creamy. Place bowl into the other large metal bowl with ice water to cool.

In a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, whisk heavy cream, starting on low speed for 1 minute then raising speed to high. Add ½ tsp vanilla and other ½ cup sugar until firm peaks form.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the coffee custard. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and place in freezer overnight or for at least hours.

When ready to serve, remove semi freddo from freezer. Allow to sit 2-3 minutes, and then place a platter on top. Invert semi freddo onto platter and slice. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon, cocoa powder or chocolate curls.

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