Raspberry, Pistachio & Rose Semifreddo By: Chef Gavan Knox

Award-winning Irish, Canadian baker, chocolate aficionada and LGBTQ+ father of two, Gavan Knox is the only competitor from Eastern Canada to appear on the third season of Food Network Canada’s The Great Chocolate Showdown. Where he defined his baking philosophy of taking point on using unexpected ingredients and flavours.

Knox has become the resident baking expert on many daytime shows including The Social, The Marilyn Denis Show, Your Morning, Cityline, CP24, CTV Calgary, CHCH and The Kelly Kutrara Show.

Knox has also been featured in major publications such as Foodism Toronto, The Montreal Guardian, The Guardian, Delicious Magazine, Gay Times and Attitude.

This has become one of his favourite summer recipes. It tastes so much more decadent and complicated than it is. A simple, quick custard combined with whipped cream, studded with chopped pistachios and pops of raspberry tartness which prove the perfect contrast to the subtle floral flavour of rosewater. Gavan finished it with additional fresh raspberries and Sicilian Pistachios for that extra special touch. This recipe is one sure fire way to bring a taste of luxury to any Summer al fresco dining.

Serves: 10-12

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 10 minutes

Chilling: 5 hours, minimum


  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup pistachio nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons rosewater (depending on strength)
  • 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • Additional fresh raspberries to serve
  • Sicilian pistachios, chopped (optional)


  1. Grease a 9″ x 5″ x 2 1/2″ loaf pan (I use 3lb tin). Line with baking paper, or cling wrap, allowing 2” overhang on both long ends. If you use baking parchment, you’ll get a smoother finish to the final result; using cling wrap will result in an interesting cracked/ wrinkled appearance.

2. Place eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water over low heat

3. Whisk for 4 to 5 minutes or until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Whisk for a further 5 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.

4. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Gently fold in the whipped cream, toasted pistachios, rosewater, and two-thirds of the raspberries

5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cover and freeze for minimum 5 hours or until firm (overnight)

6. To serve, remove from the freezer and ley stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Top with remaining raspberries

7. Slice using a gently warmed knife into slices, plate and garnish with raspberries, and Sicilian pistachio slivers.The semifreddo is best kept in the freezer till just before serving. As mentioned, a quick five minutes to slightly thaw in the summer heat and you’re good to go- just make sure you return any unsliced dessert to the freezer!

8. Slice, garnish, serve and savour each silky, creamy spoonful. Any remaining semifreddo can be stored in the freezer and enjoyed at its best for up to a week. Any more than that and I find the pistachios lose their texture and you may get hard ice crystals forming in the semifreddo. Happy summer baking!

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