Keeping up with our annual tradition, Isabel got a First Day Of School Cake today. On the menu this year was Lemon Semifreddo, her favourite dessert. She got her favourite because for the first time her older sister wasn’t around, and the choice could be all about her. This year’s cake was an Only-Child-First-Day-Of-School-Cake, after so many years of 2-Excited-Girls-First-Day-Of-School-Cakes.
With Olivia gone away at university, things feel different. It’s all good – but different. I’m adjusting pretty well, I think. I can hardly believe it, really. Seems like just yesterday I was there myself, walking up the university steps for the first time, more than a little nervous. And now my daughter is doing the same. All those years gone in a flash – how did that happen? I think I’m still in shock a little.
Anyway, this post was supposed to be about cake, not thoughts of mothering stabbing me through the heart.
Do you make a First Day Of School Cake for your kids? I’ve been trying to convince you for years. You should do it. It goes a long way. Lots of brownie points. I call it filling the good memory bank – you really need these fuzzy warm memories to draw on during some of those inevitable difficult teenage moments. Plus it’s always handy to have something to throw at them when you need to prove you are the world’s best mother and they are damn lucky to have you.
Below is the recipe for my Lemon Semifreddo. It’s a sure hit – you should really give it a try. Isabel recommends it for sure.
5 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
¾ cup lemon juice
grated rind of 4 lemons
2 cups whipping cream
2 packages of soft lady fingers
1. In a double boiler, whisk together the 5 egg yolks and 2 egg whites, sugar, lemon rind, and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat, stirring until thickened (about 5 minutes). Cool, stirring occasionally. I sometimes use an ice bath to speed this up.
2. While lemon curd is cooling, line a 9” round baking pan with saran wrap. Place a layer of lady fingers on the bottom and along the sides. Optional: mix the juice of 1 lemon with enough sugar to taste, and drizzle this over the lady fingers. This adds a nice hit of lemony flavour.
3. Whip the cream. Fold in the cooled lemon curd.
4. Spoon lemon mixture into pan. Freeze 6 hours.
5. Put semifreddo in refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
I buy soft lady fingers at my local Metro store. Make sure you get the soft, sponge cake-like kind, not the crunchy kind. These can be a little tricky to find sometime, and can be substituted if necessary with any good sponge cake, sliced thin. But nothing beats these cookies for looks, texture, and taste, so try to source them if you can.
This recipe can easily be doubled to make 2 cakes or 1 large one. The best part about semifreddo is that you can use any kind of container since it is not baked. One year for a New Year’s party I made a huge dome-shaped one in a large pyrex bowl.
Also, I have had this recipe a long time, and don’t recall the original source. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can credit it properly.