We are having company tomorrow night and 2 of the people can't eat gluten so I'm making my go-to summer dessert: frozen meringue cake with berry topping. Perfect since the markets are overrun with blueberries! I may add a few peaches or nectarines to the topping as well. Whenever I make this dessert I usually make creme anglais to use up the extra egg yolks.
As I was making creme this morning,and was scraping the vanilla bean seeds into the cream I starting wondering how the heck did someone discover the incredible flavor of vanilla? I always thought that the vanilla bean was stamen of an orchid, but after checking wikipedia discovered it is actually the fruit from an orchid plant and was originally harvested by Totonacs of Eastern Mexico, a tribe that was conquered by the Aztecs. So there you go...your interesting fact for the day!
In addition to the cake recipe, I'm also including a blueberry gin cocktail. We drank this several years ago and I rediscovered it the other day. As a bonus I'm also adding my mom's incredibly simple blueberry pie.So bon appetit and salut!
Blueberry ThrillFrom Cooking Light
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups dry gin
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cardamom pods
- crushed ice
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- additional blueberries for garnish (optional)
Frozen Meringue Cake with Berry Topping
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 1 pint seasonal berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries
- Additional whipped cream for garnish
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with aluminum foil; butter and flour foil.
- In large bowl using electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff and glossy. Drop 8 (approximately 1/3-cup) mounds of meringue about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets and use spoon to make indentations in centers of mounds.
- Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven until crisp but still white, about 45 minutes. Turn oven off and cool meringues in oven 1 hour. Using metal spatula, transfer meringues to rack to cool completely. (Meringue shells can be made up to 5 days ahead and kept in airtight container at room temperature.)
Make cream and assemble dessert
- Lightly oil 7-inch diameter soufflé dish or ramekin (6 cup capacity).
- In large bowl using electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Fold in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Chop meringue shells into 1-inch pieces and fold into cream. Transfer mixture to soufflé dish and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, approximately 8 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; keep frozen.)
- To un-mold dessert, fill large bowl 1/3 full of hot water. Run small knife around inside edge of soufflé dish to loosen. Dip dish into bowl of hot water for 2 seconds, being careful not to splash water onto cream. Carefully invert onto serving plate. Arrange berries on top of and around frozen cream and garnish with additional whipped cream.