Sorrento lemon marmalade
I’d like to share two easy ways to prepare lemon marmalade. Blanching or chopping peel by hand is not necessary.
I discovered the joy of Sorrento lemons in Sicily. They are used in lemon salads, Marmalade and fish. They have beautiful perfumed skin and juice with almost no bitterness in the skins. The first time I tried them I was smitten. Imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Sorrento Lemons imported from Italy at Whole Foods at the beginning of the Covid-19 confinement in Illinois. It was the last trip I took to the grocery store and I bought about 8 pound of lemons figuring I wouldn’t be back anytime soon.
The two styles of whole fruit marmalade: Italian style English style. What is the difference? The Italian marmalade is more of a jam, thick and glossy but opaque. The English style has bits of peel suspended in a clear jelly. Keep in mind that for the most visually beautiful marmalade it is necessary to separate the peel from the rest of the lemon, supreme the segments and make a pectin bag with the seeds and membranes. It’s a lot more work.
So, I hope I inspire you to make some marmalade with these lovely Sorrento lemons. Just a bit of a warning, the classic ratio of fruit to sugar in marmalades is 1:2, one part fruit to two parts sugar, far more sugar than I would use for non citrus fruits. I have reduced the amount of sugar with the Sorrento lemons because they are not as bitter or tart as Seville oranges, grapefruit or standard lemons. My ratio is 1 part fruit to 1.5 parts sugar. I would advise against lowering the amount of sugar because it will take longer to gel and you’ll risk over cooking it and risk losing the fresh lemon flavor. If in the end it tastes too sweet you can always add a bit of citric acid or Eureka lemon juice.
Please read my page on preserving before you make this recipe. I go over cooking vessels, sterilizing jars, making a pectin bag and testing for gel.
INGREDIENTS FOR BOTH MARMALADES
- 1000 grams Sorrento Lemons
- 2000 grams of sugar
- 1500 grams water
- Pinch of salt
Daniel is in a cook off with another boy in another fraternity, to raise money for charity. They are allowed a hot plate, a grill and a sous vide, since they both have one. I have to chuckle here as it’s not the customary possession of a college boy and yet, Daniel found possibly the one other boy in this huge University that owned one as well.
The boys were to prepare an entree using pork tenderloin, a side dish and dessert. Daniel is making prosciutto wrapped tenderloin which he will cook to temperature in the sous vide and finish in a hot pan. We discovered this technique at one of Jean-George Vonderrichten’s New York City restaurants, “Nougatine”. We had some unbelievable Berkshire pork chops which were tender with a crisp surface. The sous vide Is perfect for tough cuts of meat, like pork chops, because you can cook them for a long time to tenderize them without overcooking them. In addition to the pork, Daniel will make a butternut squash risotto with rosemary and sage.
I was tasked with finding a desssert that could be made solely on top of the stove, that didn’t require any pre made items or special equipment and could be cooked in 30ish minutes. Hmmm!
The first time I ate a Semifreddo was at Vivoli Gelateria in Florence Italy many years ago. While the gelato was wonderful, the Semifreddo had a unique texture that was silky, light and completely captivating. Semifreddo means ” half cold ” and it feels less cold than ice cream or gelato. Personally I feel that I taste the flavors more intensely because there’s no numbing effect of your tastebuds as there is with colder confections.
Semifreddo consists of a flavored base folded together with Italian Meringue and whipped cream. The base can consist of a Crème Anglaise (yolks cooked with milk and sugar), Pâte à Bombe (a base of yolks beaten with cooked sugar syrup) or a base of puréed fruit. However, the key component which needs to be included for the best texture is Italian Meringue.
So, as I often do, I tried to find Semifreddo in my hometown to no avail. Then I began to collect recipes and try them, still without success. Finally I stumbed upon the answer to my failures in an article authored by Marino Marini titled ” More Perfect than a Parfait”. According to the article a semifreddo derives its origin from a French Parfait which is a Pâte à Bombe (egg yolks and sugar syrup beaten to a creamy consistency) into which whipped cream is folded. The Semifreddo can be differentiated from a Parfait because it includes Italian Meringue, the missing ingredient in all the recipes that I had tried. Italian Meringue doesn’t freeze at zero temperature and has a silky mouth feel. Without it, you never get the correct texture. This history feeds nicely into my narrative that the Italians (me and my ancestors) taught the French (my husband and his ancestors) how to cook, which began when Catarina d’ Medici brought her pastry chefs to France when she married Henri II of France. Clearly the Italians continued to school the French into the early 20th century when the Italians transformed a very nice desert, the Parfait, into a spectacular dessert, the Semifreddo. Ha!
This is a dessert that you can definitely play with. An easy modification would be to do a raspberry coulis or a blueberry sauce. Other flavor combinations come to mind: lime Semifreddo with blackberry coulis, passion fruit Semifreddo with mango coulis, orange/Cointreau Semifreddo with candied walnuts or pine nuts and caramel sauce; grapefruit Semifreddo with, well, I leave that up to you. You can also forgo the daquoise and place the semifreddo directly on the plate or use a thin shortbread cookie, a ginger snap or cookie crumbs. Try different combinations and make this recipe yours.
A special thanks to blogger and author Grace Massa Langlois of gracessweetlife.com for inspiring the design of this dessert. Check out her book and her blog. Her recipes are well written and trustworthy.
Lemon/Limoncello Semifreddo Dessert Componants
- Whipped Cream
- Italian Meringue
- Pâte à Bombe
- Strawberry sauce
- Limoncello bubble sugar
The first recipe a cook masters holds a very special spot in their hearts. For me this spot is reserved for these lemon-lavender poppy seed scones. It was the first recipe I designed and remembered by heart and remains one of my specialties. A few years ago, I was flipping through Baking Illustrated when I saw a recipe for british cream scones. I became inspired and for the next month I spent any free time I had experimenting with scones. I love how scones are a great vessel for an infinite number of combinations. I must have made more than 15 batches of scones during that month ranging from classic plain to bizarre (but still yummy) strawberry with balsamic vinegar glaze. The lemon-lavender poppy seed stood out among the others, combining a classic flavor profile with a little twist. The top of these scones is crisp with a tangy and sweet glaze that has a tantalizing hint of lavender that keeps you coming back for more. The flaky crust is contrasted by a moist, buttery, cloud-like interior with a little bite from the poppy seeds and bright lemon zest studded into the crumb. These scones are without a doubt one of the best confections I make, and now you can make them too.
- For Scones
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- For Glaze
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons very soft warm butter
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons dried lavender (optional)