Blurring the lines between ice cream and mousse, simplicity and finesse, nostalgia and novelty, this is the kind of dessert that’s hard to categorize but easy to love. Billows of softly-whipped cream and meringue give it loft. Raspberries, pureed and whole, give it rosy tang. Brandy, black pepper and a pureed whole vanilla bean—tricks from a Venetian cook—give it depth and brawn. This dessert needs a commitment, though once it’s safely stashed in the freezer you can forget about it completely for up to two months.
Any fruit can stand in for the raspberries, and do play with the presentation. Try freezing this in a ring mold, lining the bottom with the extra berries so they glisten like a crown of rubies when turned out.
Cook to Cook: The key here is the Italian meringue, a mixture of beaten egg whites cooked with hot sugar syrup (think airy, whipped marshmallows) that gives frozen desserts exceptional texture and stability. It’s a little fussy but not difficult; just follow the instructions carefully and you’ll be home free. And not only will you feel like a pro for having conquered it, suddenly you’ll find a whole universe of frozen creations at your fingertips.
Transfer the cream from the freezer to the refrigerator three hours before serving.
Equipment needed: a candy thermometer, a free-standing mixture—or if using a hand-held mixer, another pair of hands.
The Italian Meringue
From The Splendid Table®'s How to Eat Weekends by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter, 2011), © copyright 2011 American Public Media.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.