Festive Semifreddo with caramel shards

Enjoy the temptation of Caramel for Christmas, with a Winelands interpretation of the popular Italian Semifreddo and served it with some delicious caramel shards. And while savoury desserts – yes you got that right! – might be fashionable at the moment, the festive season is too special to go without something sweet.

Recipe for Semifreddo

Serves 12


1 vanilla pod

55 g castor sugar

4 large eggs, separated

500 ml cream

Pinch of salt

6 preserved green figs, chopped

150 g frozen cranberries, defrosted

50 g dried cranberries

100 g pistachio nuts, shelled, unsalted and chopped

2 drops rose geranium oil (or rose water)

2 to 3 big serving spoonfuls of honey


Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod, add to the sugar and egg yolks and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

In a second bowl, beat the cream (use a clean mixer!) to soft peaks.

In a third bowl, beat the egg whites (use a clean mixer!) with a pinch of salt until it forms stiff peaks.

Fold in the chopped figs, defrosted and dried cranberries, pistachio nuts and rose geranium oil to the egg mixture.

Gently fold in the stiff cream followed by the stiff egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl, gently stir through the honey, close up and freeze.

For the caramel shards:

Lightly oil a square of foil.

Boil 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup water over moderate heat and keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Continue to boil without stirring until it reaches a pale golden colour.

Continue cooking without stirring – swirl the pan if you have to – until the syrup reaches an intense golden colour.

Pour the hot caramel onto the foil and wait until it is cooled down completely.

Break caramel into shards.

Add some drama by serving the semifreddo at the table, add a caramel shard or two to each serving and enjoy with a glass of 2011 La Motte Méthode Cap Classique!