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Aug 03 2011

Delizie al Limone

The Peninsula of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are famous for their exquisite lemons,
the primary ingredient in the equally famous and luscious Limoncello.  The signature
dessert for this region is Delizie al Limone, a dazzlingly delicious sponge cake filled and
frosted with a lemon custard cream.

I purchased a Delizie al Limone in a bakeshop in Amalfi that was as beautiful to look at
as it tasted.  Mine was partially frozen inside, which held the interior crème in place so
that the frosting could be built over the dome.  Other than returning to learn at the
master’s hand, which I would do in a flash if I could, I will never be able to create this
delicacy quite like his.  However, I searched the Internet and ultimately translated an
Italian recipe that I feel is a reasonable facsimile.

Sponge Cake
6 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
scant 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Rain’s Choice Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Place rack in middle of oven.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until it becomes very thick and peaks
form.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until whites hold a soft peak.  Gently incorporate
into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.  Fold in lemon zest and vanilla

Carefully fold in the flour just until incorporated.  It’s okay if it isn’t perfectly blended as
it will incorporate during baking.

Using a rubber spatula, pour batter into a 9-inch round springform pan.  Bake for 55 – 60
minutes or until the cake top is golden.  It should feel spongy and spring back when
touched.

Balance cake on the rims of three glasses and allow to cool.  When cake is completely
cool, remove from pan and set aside.

Pastry Cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
zest of half a lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Rain’s choice Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the milk, eggs, sugar and flour and whisk until smooth.
Heat the mixture until it scalding (almost a boil), then reduce heat and continue whisking
until it thickens.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and allow to come to room temperature.
Add vanilla and lemon juice and refrigerate.

Syrup
1-1/4 cups water
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 shotglass Limoncello

In a medium saucepan, mix water, sugar and lemon zest.  Bring to a boil, stirring until
sugar is completely incorporated.  Keep at a slow boil until mixture becomes syrupy.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Add Limoncello and set aside.

Whipped Cream
1-2/3 cups whipping cream
1/2 shot Limoncello
long, thin slices of lemon peel for decoration.

Beat the cream until soft peaks form, then add Limoncello slowly, continuing to beat
cream until thick.  Blend into pastry cream mixture.  Lemon peel will be for decorating
the top.

Assembly
Carefully slice the cake into three layers.  Place bottom layer on a serving platter.  Drizzle
syrup over the cake layers until they are well moistened but not soggy.  Top with several
tablespoons of the pastry cream blend.  Continue with the second layer, then place top
layer on cake.  Using the balance of the pastry cream, cover well.  Decorate with lemon
peel and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 8 – 10

Patricia Rain
is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.

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