Sunday, December 27, 2009

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo


Lemons, lemons, lemons! I am well aware that you are probably tired of hearing about lemons, but I swear this is the last lemon recipe I will be making, or at least posting, for a while. Despite all of my efforts to bake and cook with our lemons, the giant bowl sitting on our counter does not seem to be any less full. Of course, I am not complaining. As far as problems go, too many lemons is not at the top of anyone's list.

Sadly, my younger brother is sick. I have been baking and churning away, trying to make desserts that would cheer him up a bit. He thoroughly enjoyed the lemon sorbet I made yesterday, but I felt something a bit creamier was in order. He loves the flavor of lemon, so I thought that this semifreddo, which would feel nice against his sore throat, would do the trick. The strong lemon flavor would also be able to break through the barrier put up by his stuffy nose.

The only downside to this recipe is the fact that there are so many steps. Lucky for me, I happened to have many of the components on hand. I did not have to make the lemon curd or the whipped cream, as I had lemon curd that my mom had made and whipped cream leftover from the lemon tarts we had for Christmas. If, however, you are not quite as lucky as I was, this recipe may not be a viable option, or at least not one you would want to whip up on a busy day.


The texture of the semifreddo was unlike anything that I have ever had. I think it would be interesting to try freezing the cake to see how the texture would change. The flavor of the lemons was definitely there, but it was not overwhelming. I really do hope it helped to make Riley feel even a little bit better.

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo
Serves 8
Adapted from Room for Dessert

1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice

Sponge Cake
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup crushed amaretti cookies

Measure lemon juice, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and set over low heat. Whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Once butter melts, whisk some of the warm liquid from the saucepan into egg mixture, then stir warmed eggs back into the liquid in the saucepan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until curd thickens and looks slightly jelled. Press lemon curd through a strainer into a container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat water and sugar together until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in Meyer lemon juice.

Cut spongecake into two pieces that will fit a 2-quart baking dish. Whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold together whipped cream and chilled lemon curd. Spread 1 cup lemon-cream mixture evenly in the bottom of the baking dish. Place one of the pieces of sponge cake on top of the lemon cream. Soak cake with 1/2 cup lemon syrup. Spread 1 more cup of the lemon cream evenly on top of the first sponge cake layer and sprinkle with 1/2 cup amaretti crumbs. Lay second piece of sponge cake on top and soak it with the rest of the syrup. Top with remaining lemon cream spread in an even layer. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve-preferably overnight. Before serving, sprinkle with remaining amaretti crumbs.

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