Julia's Summery Mango And Passionfruit Semifreddo

No one does dessert like Julia Busuttil Nishimura, who joins us again this month for her final recipe of 2022, a mango and passionfruit semifreddo!

An Italian word that means ‘half cold’ or ‘half frozen’, semifreddo has the texture of a frozen mousse. Topped with fruits like mango and passionfruit, with the added texture of toasted coconut and the crunch of peanut praline, you’ve got yourself a seriously mouth watering summer treat for the festivities ahead!

Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Julia Busuttil Nishimura looking radiant as per usual. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Not quite an ice cream, not quite a pudding, a semifreddo has the texture of a frozen mousse. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Here Julia has topped her semifreddo with passionfruit and toasted coconut. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura
7th of December 2021

I love making semifreddo at home, as it doesn’t require an ice cream machine and comes together relatively quickly. Serve it at the table, thick slices cut and served onto plates and you’re in for a summer treat.

Here I’ve flavoured it with mango, and topped it all off with passionfruit, some toasted coconut and a peanut praline which adds some crunch and saltiness. Really, the mango can be swapped out for other fruits like raspberries or blackberries or roasted or poached fruits like plums, nectarines and peaches. Rhubarb  and cherries are good too. Just be sure to keep everything cold as you make it.

The whipped cream and fruit puree should be stored in the fridge until the very last moment to ensure the lightness of the mixture remains. If you don’t have a stand mixer, electric beaters are a fine substitute when making the meringue, just be sure to keep whipping it until the bowl is cool to touch. The semifreddo is best eaten within 1-2 days of making.

A perfect dessert for the summer festivities ahead! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.


(Serves 6)

Mango Semifreddo

Flesh from 1 mango
Juice of a lime
500ml pure cream
125g caster sugar
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract

Salted peanut praline

1tsp olive oil, for greasing
125g caster sugar
100g roasted salted peanuts

2 tbsp shredded coconut, toasted, to serve
Flesh from 3 passionfruit, to serve
Fresh from half a mango, thinly sliced, to serve


Grease and line a 23.5×10.5cm loaf tin with cling film or baking paper. Allowing some of it to overhang the edges of the tin.

Place the flesh from the mango with the lime juice in a food processor or blender and blitz until a smooth puree. Set aside in the fridge.

Whip the cream to stiff peaks and set aside in the fridge too.

Place the sugar, egg, egg yolks and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and set on top of a small pot of simmering water. Whisk the mixture continuously until it is frothy and very warm. Remove the bowl from the pot and with the whisk attachment, and whisk on high speed in the stand mixer until the bowl is cool to touch and the mixture is pale and voluminous. Alternatively use handheld electric beaters. Gently fold the cold whipped cream into the meringue mixture then fold through the mango puree. There is no need to mix it in completely, as streaks of mango will create a lovely marbled effect. Spoon into the prepared tin, cover and freeze overnight, around 8-12 hours.

Meanwhile, make the praline. Lightly grease a baking tray or a piece of tin foil with a little olive oil then place the peanuts on a single layer. Place the sugar in a small pot with 2 tbsp of water. Place over a medium heat and cook the sugar and water, without stirring, until it reaches a dark amber colour (around 5-6 minutes). As it cooks, you can swirl the pan to help move the sugar around but do not stir with a spoon. Pour the hot caramel over the peanuts then let it harden completely (30 minutes). Break into smaller pieces and either blitz in a food processor or pound in a mortar and pestle to a fine powder.

Allow the semifreddo to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving plate and remove the cling film or baking paper. Top with the passionfruit, extra mango slices and serve slices with the toasted coconut and peanut praline.

What else I’m cooking with…

I have been loving eating butterflied fish like sardines and garfish, dusting them in flour, dipping into a beaten egg and crumbing it. I then fry it in olive oil until golden. Such a nice treat. Served with plenty of lemon and a leafy salad and it’s the perfect dinner as the weather warms up.

What else I’m eating…

The broad bean tips, fresh garlic cream and fior di latte pizza at Capitano. A perfect celebration of all things spring, on a pizza!

Click here to download recipe printout!

Click here to download recipe printout!

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