Venetian cuisine: Pomegranate, Meringue and Rosewater Semifreddo

Pomegranate, Meringue and Rosewater Semifreddo by Skye McAlpine

Venetian cuisine: Pomegranate, Meringue and Rosewater Semifreddo


There is something romantic about pomegranates. Perhaps it’s that they’re fruits steeped in ancient mythology. Or perhaps it’s as simple as the fact that their seeds sparkle and shimmer like perfectly formed jewels. At this time of year, I cook with them a lot, adding a spoonful of the seeds and a drizzle of the ruby red juices to everything from a red chicory salad, to a dish of couscous or a decadent chocolate cake. Somehow they make even the plainest of fare feel deeply and irresistibly festive.

This semifreddo is a favourite of mine. Partly because where there is cream and sugar and meringue, there is – in my view – always also great happiness. And partly because of its sheer simplicity to make. Whip together eggs and sugar over a pot of boiling water – and there, my only piece of advice is to take care not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl as it will cause the eggs to scramble, rather than gently cook into a thick, heady custard. Then mix with cream, fruit, and meringue. The semifreddo freezes overnight and is ready to eat the next day – though of course you can make it well ahead of time and store it in the freezer for a good few weeks. As for the fruit and the meringue, you can mix and match as you like. Pomegranate and rosewater is a favourite pairing of mine – delicate, sweet-but-not-too-sweet and with a hint of the exotic about it. But you could just as well make this recipe with the fruit of your choosing – anything from swirls of persimmon purée to raisins soaked in grappa, and perhaps even replace the meringue with a smattering of crisp nuts or crumbled amaretti biscuits.


370ml double cream
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
75g sugar
1tsp rosewater
200g pomegranate seeds, and more for decoration
45g meringues


Line a 20cm round cake tin with cling film, allowing a generous overhang on all sides and set to one side. Whisk the cream until stiff and set to one side while you make the custard. Crack the eggs and yolks into a heatproof bowl and pour in the sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk the eggs vigorously for 4-5 mins until they become tick and creamy. Then take them off the heat and whisk for a further4-5 mins until cool. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Pour in the rosewater and the pomegranate seeds, and crumble in the meringues then fold gently through. Cover with cling film and freeze overnight or until firm.

Before serving, stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, then turn out on to a plate and decorate with pomegranate seeds.Venetian cuisine: Pomegranate, Meringue and Rosewater Semifreddo