Today’s recipe comes from Naples and the Sorrentine peninsula, in the region of Campania: Delizie al Limone (Lemon Delights). They are sponge cakes filled with a lemon cream, brushed with Limoncello syrup and covered in a lemon and whipped cream glaze. Yes, you got that right… they are absolutely decadent. As I have recently shared my recipe for home-made Limoncello, I thought there was no better time to show you how to put it to good use (besides drinking it, that is). Delizie are usually served as a big cake or, like in this case, as a single serve. They are such a popular dessert around Naples, that they always make an appearance for important occasions like parties, birthdays or… Sunday lunches. They are scrumptious to eat and they are worth the extra effort required. The recipe is quite long and it has lots of elements and ingredients, but it is not as hard to make as it seems. It is actually pretty straighforward. I strongly advise you to use a weighing scale though, as this kind of dessert requires a little more precision. Delizie al Limone are soft, creamy, sweet and tangy all at the same time… a real delight for your tastebuds! I particularly like the filling… lemony goodness! If you are like me and like citrus desserts, this one is an absolute must-try! Buon appetito!
Delizie al Limone
Delizie al Limone - Italian sponge cakes filled with a lemon cream, brushed with Limoncello syrup and covered in a lemon and whipped cream glaze.
- 150 gms – 3 large eggs divided
- 90 gms – ½ cup granulated sugar
- 40 gms – 1 ½ oz. all-purpose flour
- 25 gms – 8 tsp cornstarch
- 25 gms – ¼ cup almond meal
- ½ lemon peel grated
- ½ vanilla pod
- 1 pinch salt
- 40 gms – 2 egg yolks
- 40 gms – 1 ½ oz. sugar
- 1 or 2 lemons
- 40 gms – 1 ½ oz. butter
Lemon Crema Pasticcera
- 180 gms – ¾ cup milk
- 80 gms + 30 gms – 3 oz. + 1 oz. cream
- 80 gms – 4 egg yolks
- 60 gms – 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 15 gms – 5 tsp cornstarch
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 lemon
- 1/3 vanilla pod
- 30 gms – 1 oz.water
- 30 gms – 1 oz. granulated sugar
- 50 gms – 1 ¾ oz. Limoncello
- ½ lemon
- Remaining Lemon Cream
- Remaining Lemon Crema Pasticcera
- 60 gms – 1/3 cup milk
- 125 gms– ½ cup cream whipped and lightly sweetned
- 30 gms – 1 oz. Limoncello
Beat the egg yolks with 40 gms – 1 ½ oz. of the sugar, grated lemon peel and scraped vanilla until pale and fluffy.
Add the almond meal and mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar and a pinch of salt.
Mix together the cornstarch and flour and then sift it into the egg yolk mixture, alternating with additions of the beaten egg whites. Make sure to fold these in gently, so as not to deflate them.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170°C – 340°F for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
When ready, unmould them and keep them on a wire rack to cool down.
Grate the peel of the lemon and then juice it. Put the grated peel in a bowl with the lemon juice and keep it to infuse for 20 minutes.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and then add 40 gms – 1 ½ oz. of the lemon juice and grated peel. Keep mixing.
Put this mixture on a slow flame and cook it, while continuously stirring, until it reaches 80°C – 176°F. Then remove from the fire and put the pot in a double boiler filled with cold water. Blend it with a stick mixer until smooth. Let it cool down to 50°C – 122°F, then add the chopped butter and keep blending until smooth.
Cover it with cling wrap (make sure that the cling wrap touches the surface of the cream so a skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate it until completely cold.
Lemon Crema Pasticcera
In a pot put the milk, cream, lemon peel, and scraped vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Then put the fire off, let it infuse for 1 hour and then filter it.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, cornstach and salt until pale. Then slowly add the filtered milk.
Cook this mixture until it reaches 82°C – 180°F, then cover the cream with cling wrap (make sure that the cling wrap touches the surface of the cream so a skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate it until completely cold.
Mix together the Lemon Cream and the Lemon Crema Pasticcera (make sure they are both cold). Add 30 gms – 1 oz. of Limoncello and 30 gms – 1 oz. of sweetened whipped cream and mix well.
Put this cream in a piping bag and fill the sponge cakes by making a little hole at the bottom (you can use a knife to make the hole and then pipe in the cream). Try and fill them as much as possible. Reserve the remaining cream.
Using a toothpick, prick the sponges on all sides and brush them with the Limoncello syrup.
To the remaining cream, add 125 gms – ½ cup of sweetend whipped cream and 60 gms – 1/3 cup of milk to make the thick glaze.
When ready to serve, decorate with some whipped cream and lemon zests.