Cointreau Semifreddo

Sweet, sticky liqueurs are ideal in puddings and in this semifreddo — meaning literally ‘semi-frozen’ in Italian — dessert it intensifies the orange flavour. When obtainable, use blood oranges to give a nice colour. You can also churn the semifreddo to an ice-cream but, if you do, double the quantity of cream.


  • 1 orange
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 115 g/ 4 oz caster sugar
  • 350 ml/ 12 fl oz double cream
  • 5 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 tsp good-quality vanilla extract

For the Syrup

  • juice and grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 30 g/ 1 oz caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp Cointreau


Wash the orange thoroughly, grate the zest from it, squeeze the juice and reserve both separately.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, with the base just touching the surface, and whisk in 3 tablespoons of the double cream, the Cointreau, the juice of the zested orange and the vanilla extract. Continue whisking until you have a pourable custard consistency. Stir in the grated zest, remove the bowl and leave to cool.

Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks and fold this in. Pour into a plastic container, put on a lid and freeze until firm. How long this takes will depend on the efficiency of your freezer, but probably about 1 ½ hours.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving in scoops. While it is softening, make a syrup by putting the juice and grated zest of the scrubbed oranges in a pan with the caster sugar and Cointreau. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes until thick. Spoon this over the semifreddo while still hot.