Monday, July 03, 2006

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches

At last! I have been wanting to make this for a while now (as evidenced by the fact that it has been on the "coming soon" list for weeks!) and I finally had the opportunity yesterday. This dessert was inspired by a recipe in Suzanne Goin's cookbook "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" for a "Coupe Hemingway" - vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and chopped toasted almonds sandwiched between two meringues. When I saw that, I immediately thought of a recipe for lemon ice cream that I had saved on Epicurious and it just seemed natural to put the two together.

I loved the lemon ice cream - it tastes like creamy frozen lemon curd. It is incredibly easy to make and has a nice fresh flavor. I modified the recipe to add more lemon zest and fresh juice before freezing because I like my lemon tart and strong - but if you just like a delicate flavor you might want to leave that out.

You could also make this with storebought Lemon Sorbet instead of the homemade ice cream, and I suspect it would be almost as good. Trader Joes is carrying a really good line of sorbets right now called Sharon's, and the lemon is probably the best I've ever had. I like that it doesn't have that fake sour taste.

The meringues were a little more difficult to get right. I wanted a firm meringue that was crisp and dry on the outisde, but still a bit chewy in the center. I actually tried making the recipe from the Lucques cookbook, but it just didn't work for me. It calls for cooking the mixture to stabilize it, and either I am not experienced enough - or the directions weren't specific enough - for me to get it right. The meringues were too foamy and porous, and turned into a sticky mess when baked. The second time around, I used a different recipe from Epicurious and they turned out fine. I had to toast them a bit to dry them out (they had gotten sticky after baking) so they browned a bit, but they had good flavor and were crisp. This recipe called for cream of tartar to stabilize, which was much easier and does not require cooking.

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream "Sandwiches" with Blackberry Coulis and Toasted Almonds
Adapted from Epicurious and Inspired by Suzanne Goin's Meringues "Closerie du Lilas" (aka "the Hemingway Dessert")
Lemon Ice Cream:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice plus 2 Tablespoons, set aside
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half (I used whipping cream mixed with nonfat milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium non-reactive saucepan, whisk together 1 Tablespoon of the zest, the 1/2 cup of lemon juice, the sugar, and the eggs. Whisk in 1 cup of the half-and-half and the vanilla, and cook the mixture over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to a simmer and starts to thicken. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the zest, and chill it, covered with plastic wrap, until cold.

Whisk in the remaining 1 cup half-and-half, Tablespoon of Lemon Zest and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice. Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer's instruction. Allow to ripen (harden) in the freezer for several hours before serving. (As you can see in the pictures, mine was still very soft and it had been in the freezer for about three hours at that time!)

Makes about 1 quart

Meringues:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup superfine sugar (I used Baker's Sugar)
8 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Mix the sugars and set aside.
4. In a bowl of standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer running, add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue to beat, adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time. This will take about 10 minutes.
5. Beat at high speed until stiff and glossy.
6. With a spatula, scoop tennis ball sized dollops of meringue onto the baking sheet four inches apart, and swirl with two fingers to create a 3-4 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick
7. Bake about 1 hour, until cream colored and firm. Leave the meringues in the turned-off oven for several hours or overnight without opening the oven door.
8. When ready to serve, carefully peel away the paper.
Makes 12 meringues

Berry Sauce:
1/2 pint of blackberries
1 Tablespoon of sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of water

Place the blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the mixture just starts to thicken. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and chill.

Toasted Almonds:
Place raw almonds in a skillet or pan and toast in the oven at 375 until browned and fragrant - about 10 minutes. If the oven is occupied, you can also toast them in a skillet over high heat, stirring constantly. Chop roughly.

To serve - place one meringue flat side down on the plate, top with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of sauce and sprinkle with almonds. Place another meringue flat side down on top. I suppose you could also make these into real ice cream sandwiches if the meringues were firm enough - if I did that I'd roll the edges in chopped almonds. You could also swirl berry coulis into the ice cream after freezing. So many possibilities!

Serves 6

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog and saying nice things. Looks like you're well on the way to having a very good blog yourself. I especially like the header with the definition of foodie!

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  2. That sounds heavenly. I LOVE meringues and I've never had lemon ice cream but I'm sure it's GREAT! Let me know if you ever need someone to eat the leftovers! :)

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  3. All I can possibly say is WOW! that looks amazing! I might have to try it with rhubarb compote mixed in there somewhere, it sounds too yum!

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  4. Katy - that sounds great, if you try it, let me know how it turns out!

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  5. Hi Alice,

    I just found your blog via I'm Mad and I Eat.....I LOVE IT! This Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Sandwich looks AMAZING!

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  6. I just found you also!
    Beautiful photos, everything looks completely scrumptious!

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  7. rorie - you're too cute. I hope you keep blogging from Western Mass! You'll have to post some fotos of the house, etc. when you get settled

    indyfoodie - thanks for the compliments! Your blog looks lovely too!

    Bron - I just checked you out too, from New Zealand, eh? Too cool! I have been hearing great things about that Donna Hay magazine.

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