Saturday, 11 August 2012

Gluten-Free Iced Summer Fruit & Meringue Parfait

This iced dessert, adapted from a great recipe by Nigel Slater, is a multi faceted gem: fresh berries and apricots are mixed together with home made ice cream and meringue to create a gorgeous cake style parfait. On a hot day it really makes your taste buds pop. You could make the ice cream and meringues in advance - or use good quality shop bought ones of course - and just bung it all together as a parfait when you're ready.

The Blueberry Ice Cream

My own

375ml double cream
200g blueberries
75g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon

1. Heat the lemon juice, blueberries and sugar together for a few minutes in a pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil so that berries soften and release their juices, then turn down to a simmer and stir gently until a syrupy consistency.

2. I chose to keep the berries intact in my icecream, giving an iced berry crunch to the end result. If you'd prefer a smoother consistency, mash and then strain the berry mixture, getting rid of any berry pips and skin.

3. Add the cream and vanilla extract to the berry syrup, and mix well.

4. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the maker's instructions, then place in the freezer for a few hours.

5. Alternatively if you don't have an ice cream maker, then pour the mixture into a plastic container, cover with a lid and place in the coldest part of your freezer to set. After an hour, take out and churn with a fork every 40 minutes or so until the ice cream has frozen in a smooth, soft-set way.

The Meringues

My own

1 and half large eggs, whites only, room temperature
75g caster sugar

1. Turn the oven to 150C (130C fan), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl for a couple of minutes until stiff. You'll need to use an electic whisk or mixer to beat the whites hard enough.

3. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating between each addition.  Beat until well combined and glossy and smooth. The mixture should be stiff enough that it stands up in stiff peaks.

4. Spoon the meringue in smallish circles onto the parchment paper. Leave enough room between them to allow the meringues to expand, I fitted 4 or 5 on a baking tray. If you want to turn them into nests just make a well in the centre of each.

5. As soon as the meringues go in the oven turn the heat down to 120C (100C fan) and bake for 2 hours.

6. When the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in it to cool for half an hour or so. After this time you can place them on a wire rack if they need to cool further.

The Parfait

Adapted from the Iced Apricot & Blackcurrant Terrine recipe by Nigel Slater in his brilliant book Tender Volume II. Click here to buy the book on Amazon.

Taeberries and/or raspberries, 200g total
4 fresh apricots, washed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
Blueberry icecream as above, 500ml
Meringues as above, 200g

1. First make a berry coulis, by heating the tayberries and/ or raspberries in a pan over a low heat with the sugar and water. Turn the heat up, and let the berries boil for a few minutes before taking off the heat. Leave to cool.

2. Slice the apricots into thin pieces. Line a 2lb metal or loaf tin, or a freezer box with cling film, leaving some overhang over the edges. Take the blueberry icecream out of freezer approximately 10/15 minutes before the coulis has cooled.

3. Once the coulis is cool, scoop the icecream into a large bowl, and stir in the apricots.

4. Crumble the meringues into small chunks, and add them to the icecream, giving another gentle stir.

5. Finally spoon the icecream parfait mixture into the lined loaf tin, before pouring the berry coulis over the top. Using a skewer swirl briefly through the parfait to mix it up.

 6. Cover the top of the parfait with cling film, and place in the freezer for at least 5 hours.

7. Take out of the freezer 5 minutes before serving, and cut with a sharp knife.

This parfait was idly made to the sounds of Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs

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