Limoncello Tiramisu, Lemon Pudding Cakes, Lemon-Lovers Ice Cream, Candied Lemon Peels, a Birthday and Forgiveness

Limoncello Tiramisu

That title is a mouthful and that’s a lot of lemon, but it was a big week.

We all want life to be wonderful, birthdays to be special, and dessert to be the exclamation point on top of it all. At least, that’s what I want. Nevertheless, sometimes the timing is off. Way off. Things don’t turn out as we hoped.

Not bad, but the expected highlights were not there. We are left disappointed.

What happened took a departure far from the way we thought things would be. Been there, done that, more than I care to count.

Did I build it up too much?

Did I expect something I shouldn’t have?

Should I stop expecting anything, so I avoid this feeling of … disappointment.

I had a birthday last week, not a biggie, one I refer to as a “peak” birthday, just past the uphill climb and right before the downhill slide on Decade Mountain. Forty-five to be exact. I have no problem with age and growing older, I have earned every grey hair and fine line, the goal is to savor each day and celebrate.

Two challenges: Limoncello Tiramisu and my husband being out of town on a business trip.

I had been planning the tiramisu for more than six months, collecting recipes for ladyfingers, candied lemon peel, and lemon ice cream to go with it. Admittedly, I am a lemonhead, though chocolate is a close second. So the stage was set, the lemon ice cream and the ladyfingers were made two days in advance (yes, I made the ladyfingers from scratch, it was my birthday after all), then the tiramisu and candied Meyer lemon peels were prepared the day before. The much anticipated birthday dessert was done.

Except it wasn’t, because the mascarpone cream broke, which meant the entire thing was an expensive, time-consuming failure. Although, the girls didn’t complain about the extra ladyfingers.

Wrong texture, dessert fail.

Matt was gone all week at a conference and super busy. I knew he would be gone on my birthday, which was a bummer, but he failed to even acknowledge it, thinking he was good until we would celebrate upon his return (the next day). Um, no. This led to a snarky email from me and a conversation I did not want to have on my birthday. 🙁

Yes, even after 24 years of marriage, we (both of us) still make mistakes and have to deal with being disappointed by each other.

So where do you go from here?

After tasting the tiramisu (5-6 times) in disbelief, dump it into the trash and start over. Ugh.

Lemon Pudding Cakes, anyone? This had been a close second in my lemon birthday dream.

Lemon Pudding Cake (right texture, dessert score!)

Send the snarky email to a friend in an attempt to garner sympathy, but only one you are sure will not talk ill of your hubby and will expect the best from you. She agreed he was wrong, but still held me accountable for my response. Everyone needs a friend who will encourage them to put down the shovel.

Cry, if you feel like it. This kind of disappointment doesn’t bring a lot of tears, but even one or two can turn into anger or resentment if not released to roll down your face. Tears are not a sign of weakness, they simply testify to what we are feeling.

Forgive. Grace is like water for a garden, apply liberally, there are seeds just under the dirt.

Flowers from daughter and sweet friend.

Put flowers in some water and let your daughters and friend take you to dinner. During dinner, glance around the table at the rich blessings in your life, letting the unpleasant events of the day roll away with the emptied plates.

Lemon Pudding Cake with Lemon-Lovers Ice Cream and Candied Lemon Peel

Savor the Lemon Pudding Cakes with Lemon-Lovers Ice Cream and Candied Lemon Peels. (Save the Rice Crispy Treats your thoughtful friend brought over for snacking later~thank you, Pati).

Re-read the cards and Face Book well wishes from friends and family just before your head hits the pillow, let it highlight everything.

Always expect the best—from your dessert and the ones you love—even though you risk being disappointed.

Lemon-Lovers Ice Cream
Tangy, creamy, lemony dessert perfect for the most discriminating lemon lover.
Recipe type: Dessert, Ice Cream
Serves / Yields: 1½ quarts
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • 4 whole egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest -- finely minced
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice -- strained
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract -- optional
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • pinch salt
  1. In a saucepan, whisk egg yolks and milk until combined. While continuing to stir, heat over medium heat until just before simmering. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap on the surface of the custard. Place in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or until well chilled.
  2. In another bowl, mix the lemon zest, juice, honey, and extracts with a whisk until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Once all the ingredients are well chilled, combine lemon syrup, custard, heavy cream, and salt in a mixing bowl or large measuring cup with a pour spout.
  4. Mix in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions; most take between 20-30 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately for soft serve ice cream or freeze in an air tight container for 2 hours for a firmer consistency.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:

Mom Trends Friday Food
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
Hearth & Soul Hop

Ah-may-zing Lemon-Lovers Ice Cream with Candied Lemon Peel


  1. says

    I’m sorry your special day was not all you hoped it would be. BUT it did have moments and then there is that gorgeous ice cream… I’ve bookmarked your recipe and will tryit really soon. I hope you have a good day. Blessings…Mary

    • Judy says

      Thank you Mary, it did have wonderful moments and I still have some of the ice cream left to enjoy even now. 😉

  2. says

    Happy belated birthday, Judy, and sorry your tiramisu was such a disappointment. This lemon ice cream, however, sounds rich enough to make a fine substitute. I can’t wait for our weather to warm a bit so that I can make a batch. Thanks for sharing!

    • Judy says

      Thanks John, it was a good thing I didn’t have a dinner party riding on it … whew! The ice cream was wonderful and we look forward to having it again on a warm summer evening.

  3. says

    This may not make you feel better, but your Lemon Tiramisu looks gorgeous, even it it didn’t taste right. It’s lovely of you to share so honestly. You are not the first one to attach a lot of importance to a birthday – I certainly do, and from conversations I have had with friends I think it is something most women do.

    Thank you for the link to the ladyfinger recipe – I’ve been thinking about trying to make them. As for your Lemon Lover’s Ice Cream – wow! It sounds so delicious and what a mouthwatering photograph! Your presentation is gorgeous!

    Thank you for another wonderful post, and Happy (Belated) Birthday 🙂

    • Judy says

      Thanks April, for your encouragement and birthday wishes, I appreciate that! There were certainly wonderful moments throughout the day, but it is funny how certain little things can affect everything else–another lesson learned about holding things lightly. The ladyfingers were easier to make than I thought and instead of using a pastry bag for piping them on the pan, I just used a ziploc bag with the corner snipped instead. Worked great.

  4. says

    I would never complain about too much lemon in one post. The more the merrier! These desserts all look amazing. I want every single one! Happy belated birthday–hope you had a great one, Judy. 🙂

  5. says

    First off.. Happy Birthday!! I love all your thoughts today.. your frank honesty.. we’ve all been there and definitely done the same. I like to be optimistic.. but try not to “plan all the details” in my head.. or there’s sure to be disappointment somewhere along the way. I’m learning to be more of a “my birthday’s going to be a great day…” and I leave it at that:) Your desserts.. yes both look stunning.. somethings look better than they end up tasting, but they should still be photographed, I think they’re a word of heart.. I mean art 🙂 xo Smidge

    • Judy says

      Thanks Barb, I appreciate your sweet comment and that you can relate. I agree, some things do look better in the photo than they are, but each one is a work of the heart and worth a snap shot. 🙂

  6. says

    Happy belated birthday Judy!! And I know oh too well about baking/cooking attempts not working out just right. On the bright side though, the garbage can will eat anything. 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Pati says

    Loved sharing your “sitting on the hump Birthday” =). The pleasures and disappointments. Having said that, the Lemon ice cream was incredible. The POW of lemon did not fall flat like so many lemon desserts do…perfection! You protest too much about the Tiramasu. With the Lemon Ice Cream, you created a nice balance of sweetness to the tart.
    Your favorite guinea pig~Pati

    • Judy says

      Aw, thanks Pati, you were definitely responsible for a number of the highlights of the day. 🙂 Thanks for always cheering me on, friend, and tasting along side me.

  8. says

    All of these dishes look wonderful. The tiramisu is lovely – I’m sorry it did not turn out as you expected.

    One Mother’s Day when my husband was in Test Pilot School, he not only forgot it was Mother’s Day, he forgot it was Sunday and went into work. The bachelors were there and said, “dude what are you doing here? don’t you know what day it is?” My husband told them he couldn’t believe he forgot it was Sunday and he was going to miss church and then they told him it was Mother’s Day and his wife was going to kill him. I had already bought him a grill for Father’s Day so I told the kids we were going to skip church and go to the store “so Dad can grill us some steaks while he eats crow tonight”. In the mean time he had driven home and discovered that I had left. When I drove up he was still in the drive way looking so sad and pathetic that I didn’t have the heart to be angry with him. Though I did cheerfully tell him that he was grilling steaks on my Mother’s Day present…and then I bought him an ice-cream maker for Father’s Day. 🙂

    • Judy says

      Alea, that is funny! Keeping the grill and buying him an ice cream maker is what I call a win-win! My kids also knew I was not happy, they got to see the long-slow-simmer … but they also got to see the forgiveness, which is important. Thank you for sharing this story with me, I love hearing from others who can relate. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge