Discover how to make these lemon delights (delizie al limone) delicious mini sponge cakes filled and topped with a smooth lemon custard, from the sun soaked Amalfi coast, in our step-by-step recipe below.
Watch how lemon delights are made at home in the video below:
How to Make the Génoise Sponge Cake
Break the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.
In a large bowl, put the yolks, 40 g of sugar, the grated lemon zest and vanilla beans.
Beat with an electric beater until the mixture is clear and frothy.
Separately, mount the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the remaining sugar.
Over a large bowl, sift the flour together with the remaining cornstarch and then add the almonds, which have already been ground to a powder.
Delicately mix the beaten yolks with the mounted egg whites and then add, a little bit at a time, the mixture of flour, cornstarch and almonds.
Pour the mixture into aluminium semi-spheres measuring 7 cm in diameter, which have been greased and floured.
Bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated 170°C oven.
How to Make the Lemon Cream
Wash and dry the lemons: grate the lemon zest and then squeeze out the juice.
Put the grated zest to soak in the juice for 20 min.
In a small pot, use a whisk to mix the yolks with the sugar and then dilute it with 30 g of lemon juice.
Place over very low heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it reaches 80°C.
Still stirring, remove from heat and let the custard cool, putting the pot in an ice-water bain-marie to stop the cooking.
With an immersion blender, stir for 1 minute, until the cream is smooth and velvety.
Let cool until it’s around 50°C.
Blend in the butter, cut into pieces, and mix with the immersion blender.
Cover the cream with a piece of transparent plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator at 4°C.
How to Make the Lemon Custard Cream
In a saucepan, mix the milk, cream and lemon zest: bring to a gentle boil, turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour.
In another saucepan, use a whisk to mix the yolks with the sugar, the vanilla pods, the potato starch and the salt.
Gradually, still mixing, add in the milk once it’s been filtered.
Cook until 82°C for about 1 minute.
Immediately pour the cream into a steel or glass oven dish and cover with plastic wrap.
Place in the freezer for 20 minutes and then keep in the refrigerator at 4°C.
In a small bowl mix the sugar with the water infused with the lemon zest.
Over low heat, bring to a gentle boil; turn off and let cool.
Then add the limoncello.
How to assemble the dessert:
Mix the lemon cream, well-chilled, with the custard cream.
Add 30 g of limoncello and 30 g of the sugared whipped cream.
Mix all the ingredients well together and with the help of a sac-à-poche, fill entirely the domes of the Génoise cake, piercing them in the lower part.
After you’ve finished filling the cakes, take the leftover cream and gently add 80 g of sugared whipped cream and then dilute it with 30-40 g of fresh milk, transforming the cream into a dense glaze.
Decorate the delights with a dollop of whipped cream and grated lemon.
Leave in the refrigerator at +4°C until it’s time to serve.
More Italian desserts
If this lemon delight has got your taste buds hungry for more Italian desserts, then you’re spoilt for choice! Panna cotta, literally 'cooked cream', is a delicious place to start and can be served with all sorts of fruits or sauces, such as strawberries in this version. The most famous of all Italian desserts has to be tiramisu (pick me up!), just bursting with creamy coffee richness. Try this traditional original recipe. Finally, ice cream is good all year round, but this semifreddo ice cream loaf is bursting with candied fruit that gives it a Christmas twist.
Want to learn how to cook more Italian classics at home?
Learn how to cook more classic Italian recipes like a pro, with tips, tricks and techniques from one of Italy’s best chefs, Riccardo Camanini. Here he is creating the perfect cacio e pepe recipe with just four ingredients; rigatoni pasta, pecorino, salt and black pepper.