So, I talk a lot about how good it is for my soul to spend time sitting at the table – or standing in the kitchen – with others. But I’ve come to realize there is something else really healthy about kitchen therapy. OK, so healthy may not be the correct word when the recipe’s star is butter or bacon – but whatever the word is, I want to tattoo it on my wrist, because it would be a beautiful reminder that life is about adventure and we are all created to be creative.
In the kitchen, I’m free to bend the rules. I can even break them. I’ve even been known to cheat without guilt. It feels a little bit devious and a whole lot delightful, and it’s a great escape from a world that seems to take itself far too seriously and from the nagging voice in my head that wants to confuse success with significance and tell me I’ll never amount to much (I bet that voice nags you every now and then too). Sometimes things fail – like when I tried to make a bean & bacon soup cake at the age of 8, or attempted to use texturized vegetable protein in a dinner (the garbage disposal even rejected it, and it took hours to clean off the ceiling). But oftentimes, happiness happens.
I broke a lot of rules with this little dessert. It was supposed to be Limoncello Tiramisu. And perhaps you might still be kind enough to call it that – though I think LiMadeleine Torte would suffice. I’m sure it tastes lovely with ladyfingers, but the light sweet-tart lemon cream with those buttery limoncello-kissed Madeleine cookies is quite special. It’s a perfect dessert for a sunshiney day (or even a day that needs a little sunshine). So, enjoy this sweet cheat (my hubby and friends sure did) – and maybe bend the rules a little. It’s good kitchen therapy. I promise.
LeMadeleine (or Limoncello Tiramisu with a twist)
30-36 ladyfingers OR (here’s a bend) about 24 Madeleines
1/3 cup Limoncello
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup Sugar
6 egg yolks
OR (here’s a cheat)
1 jar lemon curd
2 T. Limoncello
For Whipped Topping:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon limoncello
1 cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup cream cheese
For Limoncello Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup limoncello
Over medium heat, mix sugar and lemon juice until sugar dissolves. Add Limoncello and cook until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat and cool.
In a double boiler or metal bowl placed over a pot of boiling water, mix Limoncello, lemon juice, zest, sugar and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and chill until cooled.
Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently add mascarpone and cream cheese and continue mixing until firm peaks form. Fold in cooled custard mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
In a large serving dish or 9”x9” pan, line bottom and sides with Madeleines that have been soaked for a minute or so in the Limoncello Syrup. Carefully dollop about half of the cream mixture on the Madeleines. Add another layer of Madeleines and another layer of the cream mixture. Top with Madeleine crumbs that have been lightly toasted in the oven. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Serve and smile.