recipe

Italian Lemon Delights: the delicious dessert recipe for making delizie al limone

Total time: 75 Min
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist
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The lemon delights, or delizie al limone, are typical Italian desserts of Campania pastry you can enjoy with a spoon. They are made of soft, light sponge cakes which are filled with a creamy lemon custard. Once filled, they are soaked in a syrup of water, sugar and limoncello, and coated with a white, zesty icing.

Originally from Sorrento, this lemon delight recipe was created for the first time in 1978 by the pastry chef Carmine Marzuillo first as a single cake, later as delicious single-serving treats. Anyway, this recipe is usually associated to chef Sal de Riso of the Amalfi coast, while it is thanks to actor Stanley Tucci that the dessert became popular from the 1980s onward.

For the success of the recipe, it is essential to use high quality lemons like the Amalfi ones as they are juicy and with edible, untreated peel. The soft texture of the sponge cake perfectly matches the delicate and fragrant flavor of the creams. The recipe for lemon delights is not difficult to make, but it calls for different components. With an elegant look, they are perfect to round off a dinner or to be enjoyed during a sweet afternoon break.

So let’s find out how to make Italian lemon delights by following our step-by-step recipe and tips.

Tips

Don't forget to place the lemon delights in the refrigerator until it is time to serve them.

If you want to make perfect lemon delights, make your own limoncello.

How to store Italian Lemon Delights

You can store Italian lemon delights in a food bag for 3 days. Once ready, store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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Ingredients
for the custard
Milk
150 ml
Egg yolks
2
Granulated sugar
40 g
All-purpose flour
10 g
Potato starch
5 g
Lemon
1/2
vanilla bean
1/2
for the lemon cream
Water
60 ml
Granulated sugar
50 g
Lemon juice
50 ml
Lemon
1/2
corn flour
15 g
egg yolk
1
vanilla bean
1/2
Butter
10 g
for the sponge cake
Egg
1
Egg yolks
2
Granulated sugar
80 g
All-purpose flour
60 g
Potato starch
20 g
lemon zest, grated
a pinch
Fine salt
a pinch
vanilla bean seeds
a pinch
for the syrup
Water
40 ml
Granulated sugar
40 g
Limoncello
60 ml
organic lemon, zested
1/2
for the icing
liquid fresh cream
125 ml
Cold milk
80 ml
Limoncello
30 ml
cream of the filling
to garnish
Whipped cream
125 ml
Lemon zest

How to make Lemon Delights

Make the custard; bring the milk to a boil with the zest of half a lemon. In a bowl, collect the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla.

Beat the mixture with a hand whisk or electric whisk.

Add the flour and the sifted potato starch.

Pour in the boiling milk and mix quickly with a whisk.

Transfer the cream to a saucepan, put on the heat and let it thicken.

Pour the cream into a baking dish and cover with the cling film; let it cool to room temperature.

While the custard cools, you can make the lemon cream. Grate the zest of half a lemon.

Pour in the lemon juice.

In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with the vanilla and sugar.

Pour the water and dilute to melt the cornstarch.

Also add the lemon juice with the previously prepared zest.

Let it thicken over the heat.

Add the egg yolk, mix quickly and bring back to the heat for a minute until it boils.

Remove from heat, add the knob of butter and stir to melt.

Transfer the lemon cream to a bowl, cover with cling film and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the sponge cake; break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar with the vanilla, the zest of half a lemon and a pinch of salt.

Whip with the electric whisk or the planetary mixer until the mixture becomes swollen, light and fluffy.

Add the sifted flour and starch.

Mix gently with a spatula with movements from the bottom up to best incorporate the powders, without disassembling the mixture.

Fill the molds, greased and floured, and bake at 180°C/350°F for about 15 minutes 20. Check the cooking with a wooden toothpick that must come out dry and without dough residues.

Prepare the limoncello syrup by adding the sugar and lemon zest to the water.

Put on the fire and melt the sugar, then pour into a bowl and add the limoncello, mix and let the syrup cool.

Remove the sponge cakes and let them cool.

When the custard and lemon cream are cold, combine them and mix with a whisk.

Stuff the sponge cakes from the base with the round tip of a sac à poche. Set aside the leftover cream you will need for the icing.

Dip the lemon delights into the syrup.

Lemon delights are ready to be glazed.

Whip the cream and set half aside for the final garnish.

Combine the whipped cream with the rest of the stuffing cream.

Add the cold milk and the limoncello. Stir to mix well; the glaze should be soft, semi-fluid and full-bodied.

Arrange the delights on the wire rack, placed on a sheet of aluminum foil, and pour over the icing.

Decorate the lemon delights with a tuft of central cream and lots of tufts around the base.

Finally garnish with lemon zest. Refrigerate Italian lemon delights for about 30 minutes before serving them at the table.

Serve and enjoy!

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