I was just looking back on some of my Mother’s Day posts and I realized how much I love meringue. I especially like the effect of spiking it into a Phillis Diller-esque topping. It works on cakes, pies, cheesecake and ice cream cake. Meringue is as light as air, playful, yet sophisticated and most importantly gives you an opportunity to whip out the blow torch. Unless you are a hard core meringue fan, you will want to pair it with something. Lemon is classic, and something sour makes sense, since the white pillowy topping is super sweet, but you can go with something a touch savory too. I made a Honey Saffron Chocolate Chip ice cream and then sweetened the meringue topping with honey and vanilla bean. There is actually NO SUGAR in this dessert. Okay, I know honey is a type of sugar, but I’m talking about the refined, granulated cane/beet sugar. The honey flavor is mellow and delicate with just a subtle hint of saffron in the ice cream. I didn’t tell my family what the flavors were before they dove in. Being pretty will get them to try it, but the flavor will clean the plate. They loved it.
My sons taught me to use Snapchat and I am loving it. I just did a video series on making bread in a forming basket/brotform/banneton. And I’ll be doing other videos as people want to see certain techniques. Please join me if you’re on Snapchat or if you’ve been curious to try it. You can find me at zoebakes1
Ice Cream Cake – Baked Alaska Style (ice cream inspired from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)
Honey Saffron Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
2/3 cup honey
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 teaspoon Saffron threads
6 ounces finely chopped milk chocolate (It doesn’t freeze as hard as bittersweet, so I like it for ice cream, but either will do nicely)
Honey meringue topping:
1/2 cup egg whites
3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, (super easy recipe for homemade vanilla)
Have you used saffron?
The red styles and stigmas picked from the crocus flower are called threads, which is how people refer to saffron. These threads are very expensive, so you only use a small amount. The flavor is unlike anything else, so I can’t think of a perfect substitution, but annatto and turmeric will get you pretty close, in color at least. It is most commonly used in savory foods, like Paella in Spain. The color is red when it is dry, but when you mix it with the cream, it will tint the liquid yellow. If you’ve never used it, I think you will love it, but feel free to scent your ice cream with other spices if you prefer.
Heat the cream, half and half, honey, salt, saffron threads and vanilla bean until the mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to sit for about 15 minutes to make sure the saffron is soft and releasing it’s color and flavor. Stir well and then transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
Once it is cold, you can freeze in your machine (here are some of my favorite ice cream machines) as directed. Once the ice cream is set to the point of looking like soft serve, add the chocolate pieces.
Put the ice cream in your Lekue pan and allow to chill for several hours, overnight is best to make sure it is hard enough to unmold. If you don’t have a springform pan to use, you can use an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan, lined with parchment paper to freeze the ice cream in the right shape.
To make the meringue:
Heat the egg whites and honey in the bowl of your stand mixer, over a double boiler, until the mixture is hot and thin when you lift the rubber spatula from the mixture.
Place it on the stand mixer and beat with the whip attachment until it is fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks. It also has to cool to room temperature or you run the risk of melting the ice cream when you put it on.
Remove the cake from the springform pan.
Cover the cake with the meringue. Create peaks in the meringue. I do this technique in my Craftsy cheesecake class. If you have signed up for that class you’ll find this in the last lesson. If you haven’t joined my class and would like to, here is a 50% off link.
After you cover the cake, freeze it again for at least 30 minutes, before you torch it.
You don’t have to torch the ice cream cake, since it is so beautiful in it’s pure white form. However, and it is a BIG however, using a Blow Torch is one of life’s great joys. My friend, Barb, who was a little shy of the torch, recently got one and is now posting all of her toasted creations on Facebook, always followed by the word “WOOT!” Not only is it great fun, but I also really like what it does to the flavor of the meringue. It gives it dimension and contrast that it otherwise wouldn’t have. But, do as you like.
Obviously you will store this in the freezer and it can be done a day in advance. Slice off a piece to serve.
*Oh, I nearly forgot, one of the best things about the Lékué springform pans is that they come with a beautiful ceramic base, so you can serve right on them. To win the Lékué* please sign up for my newsletter, I’ll be picking and announcing the winner there. Spread the word to your friends and family because I have FOUR to give away, one a week for the month of May.
And a very Happy Mother’s Day to you or your mom, if you plan to gift her the ice cream cake and/or the pan!