Its first public appearance was met by absolute wonder and delight by chefs, journalists and gourmets, including a guru of national and international cuisine like Luigi Carnacina. What are we talking about? Delizia al limone, “the lemon delight”, the dessert that is a symbol of Sorrento, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its creation this year.
It was 1978 and the kitchens of Parco dei Principi, one of the most prestigious hotels in the Sorrento area, were craving to present a new dessert to their guests. The puzzle was solved by the creativity of the chef Carmine Marzuillo, who has been President of the Association of Cooks of the Sorrento Peninsula for 12 years and is a Knight of the Italian Republic. He was the one who invented that extraordinary combination of sponge cake, cream and lemon that is now called “delight”.
The new delicacy was greeted with immediate appreciation by the hotel staff and guests. As time passed, the delizia gained popularity and became one of the desserts that are a symbol of Sorrento all over the world. It was highly praised by the gastronomy expert Luigi Carnacina and reproduced by renown confectioners as Sal De Riso. The credit goes to Marzuillo, who had welcomed for years, in his confectionery atelier in viale Nizza, chefs coming from any part of the world and ready to make any effort to understand the secrets of how to prepare the delizia.
For example? To make the perfect dessert, the lemons of Sorrento are necessary and their zest must be grated with glass, so that the oils contained in it may release their unmistakable aroma into the cream. Consequently, the delizia also marked a great change in local economy: after the dessert was created, lemons, that were previously only used as disinfectant or dressing, started to be grown in Sorrento in view of the production of limoncello liqueur and of the dessert that made Marzuillo a myth of international confectionery. Sorrento Style #3
RECIPE – INGREDIENTS FOR SIX PORTIONS
FOR SOSPIRO SPONGE CAKES
150 g of flour
75 g of sugar
FOR THE CREAM
1 litre of milk
1 litre of milk cream
8 egg yolks
80 g of flour
400 g of sugar
Vanilla flavour and lemon zest
FOR THE GARNISH
julienned zest of 4 lemons
For sospiro sponge cakes: separate the egg whites from the yolks, add sugar to the yolks, beat them and mix them with flour. Beat the egg whites with the juice of half a lemon, mix the two doughs and stir by hand. Fill in a pastry bag with the resulting dough and put the dough in the form of half spheres, then bake them in the oven at 160°C (320°F) for 20 minutes.
For the cream: mix sugar and flour in a bowl, stir, add a glass of milk and the egg yolks, then stir again while pouring the rest of the milk into the bowl. Stir with a wooden paddle and make it boil. Add vanilla and let the mixture cool.
For the filling: add three units of milk cream and the zest of a lemon to the cool mixture, then stir it. Empty the interior of the sponge cakes and fill them in with the cream mixture. Prepare a syrup of water and sugar using an equal dose of the two ingredients, then allow it to cool and mix it with ⅓ of limoncello liqueur. Immerse each sospiro cake into the resulting syrup and put it on a plate. For the sauce: mix the remaining cream with milk to obtain a sauce that you can pour on the sospiro cakes. Decorate the top of the sospiro cakes with the remaining milk cream, adding half a candied cherry and the julienned zest of a lemon, then serve the cakes cool.
Sorrento Style #3