Lemon Semifreddo

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Ingredients:

Lemon and Almond Sponge 

  • 6 Eggs (yolks and whites separated)
  • 200g Sugar
  • 1 Lemon (juiced and zest finely grated)
  • 100g Almond Flour (sifted)
  • 50g All Purpose Flour (sifted)
  • 5g Baking Powder (sifted)
  • 2g Salt
  • 30g Unsalted Butter

Yuzu Syrup

  • 250ml Yuzu Jam
  • 100g Sugar
  • 75ml Water
  • 50ml Limoncello

Lemon and Orange Sabayon

  • 8 Eggs (yolks only)
  • 2 Lemons (juiced and zest finely)
  • 1 Orange (juiced and zest finely grated)
  • 200g Sugar
  • 50ml Grand Marnier

Whipped Cream 

  • 700ml Heavy Cream

Mascarpone and Limoncello Cream 

  • 450ml Mascarpone Cheese (softened)
  • 75ml Limoncello

Lemon Curd 

  • 9 Whole Eggs
  • 300g Sugar
  • 5 Lemons (juiced and zest finely grated)
  • 250ml Heavy Cream
  • 2g Salt

Praline Crumb

  • 100g Slivered Almond (toasted)
  • 100g Sugar
  • 50g Unsalted Butter

Instructions: 

Lemon and Almond Sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  2. Grease a sheet pan (18inch x 13inch) all over with butter, and line the base of the sheet pan with non-stick parchment paper and apply another coating of butter on top.
  3. Pour your flour, almond flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir until well combined.  Set aside.
  4. In a bowl of a stand mixer, add your egg whites, salt and lemon juice and whisk under medium high speed for 1-2mins until foamy.  Add half your sugar, and continue whisking for approximately 5-6mins on high speed until your meringue becomes glossy and stiff.  Using a rubber spatula, remove your meringue mixture from the stand mixer bowl and set it aside in another bowl.
  5. Add your egg yolks, lemon zest and sugar into your stand mixer bowl and whisk under medium speed for 2-3mins until thoroughly combined and foamy.
  6. Add your dry ingredients into your egg yolk mixture a third at a time.  Whisk under low speed until just combined, and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula before adding the remaining dry ingredients.
  7. Add 1/3 of your meringue into your egg, almond and flour mixture and stir it in until well combined, before gently folding in the remaining 2/3 of your meringue.
  8. Pour your cake mixture into your baking sheet and spread it evenly across the surface.  Place it in the oven and bake for approximately 20mins until cooked.  When ready, remove and set aside.

Yuzu Syrup:

  1. Add your sugar, water and yuzu jam into a pan and cook under medium high heat until it comes to a boil.  When it comes to a boil, cook for a further 2-3mins.
  2. After finished cooking, add your limoncello to your sugar syrup.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Lemon Curd 

  1. In a pot, add your heavy cream, and half your sugar together and cook over medium low heat until it reaches a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile while your cream is cooking, whisk together your eggs, remaining sugar, salt and all your lemon juice until well combined.
  3. When you cream mixture has reach a simmer, slowly pour it over your lemon and egg mixture while constantly whisking it until fully incorporated.  Pour this mixture back into a pot and cook over medium low heat while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula until the lemon curd reaches 175ºF.
  4. Pass the lemon curd through a strainer to remove any lumps and stir in your lemon zest.
  5. Allow to cool slightly in the fridge.

Lemon and Orange Sabayon

  1. Place your egg yolks and Grand Marnier into a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for 2-3mins under medium speed until light and foamy.
  2. Place your lemon juice, orange juice and sugar into a pan and cook under medium high heat until it reaches 250ºF and becomes a thick heavy syrup.
  3. Begin whisking your egg yolk mixture again under low speed and gradually pour all your sugar syrup into your egg yolks in a thin steady stream.  After you’ve added all your sugar syrup, turn the speed up on your stand mixer to high and continue whisking for approximately 5-6mins until the mixture has tripled in volume and has cooled down to room temperature.  Remove and set aside in another bowl.

Whipped Cream

  1. Add your heavy cream to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk under medium high speed for 2-3mins until you’ve reached stiff peaks.

Mascarpone and Limoncello Cream

  1. Place your mascarpone cheese and limoncello into your bowl of your stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat under medium high speed for 4-5mins until softened and smooth.

Praline Crumb

  1. Place your sugar into a pan and cook under medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and turns into a caramel.
  2. When the colour of the caramel turns into a dark amber colour, take it off the heat and add your butter and slivered almonds.  Stir until well combined.
  3. Pour your praline mixture onto nonstick parchment paper and allow to cool and harden.
  4. When hardened and brittle, shatter your praline into small chunks.
  5. Place your shattered praline into a food processor and process it until it turns into a fine crumb mix.
  6. Remove and set aside.

Assembly:

  1. Using a rectangular mold (width 6inches, length 13inches, and height 2 inches), cut out your lemon almond sponge cake to use as a base for your semifreddo.
  2. Line one side of your rectangular mold with cling film, ensure it’s tightly wrapped.  Place your lemon almond sponge base inside your rectangular mold where you have your cling film.
  3. Brush your sponge with your yuzu syrup.
  4. Combine your lemon sabayon, mascarpone cream and lemon curd together in a large bowl and whisk together until well combined.  Gently fold in your whipped cream to this mixture to form your lemon filling.
  5. Pour your lemon filling into your rectangular molds lined with your lemon and almond sponge.  Using a palette knife, smooth out the surface.
  6. Place your semifreddo into the freezer and chill for 6-8hrs until well chilled and firm.
  7. Remove your semifreddo from the freezer and dust the top with your praline crumb mix.
  8. Using a thin sharp knife, run the blade across the edge of your semifreddo and remove your rectangular mold from your semifreddo along with the cling film lining the bottom.
  9. Cut and serve.

Notes:

  • This dish/recipe is a homage to the Lemon Semifreddo recipe in the popular anime/manga Shokugeki no Soma. 
  • I developed this recipe while thinking of ways to improve it like the character Mimasaka Subaru did and made several trial versions before finalizing this recipe.  For example, on my first batch of the lemon filling mix, I only combined mascarpone cheese, lemon sabayon and whipped cream together.  The end product didn’t have enough lemon flavour shine through and the cream was too light and airy and lacked sufficient texture.  So I added lemon curd to solve both these problems.  
  • Another issue was the praline topping they had in the original recipe presented in the anime/manga.  Quite frankly, the top was too hard and brittle for you to cut and get any clean cuts and servings.  So I pulverized the praline in a food processor to form a crumb/powder to dust on top to solve this problem.
  • If you’re unable to find yuzu jam in your local supermarket, a good substitute is Korean Citron Honey Tea.
  • If you really wanted to take this dish over the top, substitute regular lemons with Meyer Lemons.  Meyer Lemons have a more profound depth of flavour and aroma than regular lemons possess and really take this dish to the next level.  They’re also exponentially more expensive than regular lemons…
  • I know that the original recipe only used lemons and limoncello in it’s recipe, but I found that after play testing this recipe a few times that oranges, Grand Marnier and Yuzu Jam really added a lot of depth, character and aroma to this dish that couldn’t be achieved with just lemons alone.
  • I realize this recipe is rather long and elaborate, but it really is worthwhile to try and make at home.  It’s an incredibly delicious, fragrant and refreshing dessert, that ticks all the boxes in terms of flavour, texture, contrast, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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