Friday, November 21, 2008
Light, airy, cool, refreshing – a bit like a stroll down the broad La Rambla. Leche Merengada is part ice milk, part granita and part slushy meringue drink. Originally coming from the shores of Valencia, it's enjoyed in many other locales. It’s one of the easiest glaces you can make, ready in time for a super light end to a delicious Spanish table of your favorite tapas.
Marrying the magical flavors of vanilla, lemon and cinnamon takes just a few moments on the stove and then an overnight in the refrigerator. Then you freeze it until it starts to get slushy and fold in some meringue. Freeze a bit longer and listo! Simple and delicious.
- This dessert is sometimes taken as a drink and sometimes as a slushy granita. You can freeze the mixture according to your own whim.
- These ingredient ratios are intended to balance flavors in an optimum way for a simple and subtle combination.
- You can also churn the base in your ice-cream freezer after the base has been chilled and the meringue has been folded in but it will take longer - about a half hour or so until it sets up like a sherbet.
- This is a great way to use up those leftover egg whites!
Helado de Leche Merengada
Serves 4 to 6
1 quart whole milk
3/4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
4 egg whites @ room temperature
2 T sugar
Combine the milk, 3/4 cup of sugar, salt, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean portion and lemon zest into a saucepan. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring to blend the ingredients. Lower heat and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat, discard the cinnamon stick and cool. Pour the mixture into a shallow container with a cover and chill overnight.
A couple of hours before you plan to serve the dessert, remove the vanilla bean and place the container in the freezer. When it has just begin to set up, take it out and stir it with a fork to smooth it out. Return it to the freezer for another half hour or so. When it looks like it’s become slightly firm but still mushy, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are opaque. Slowly add 2 tablespoon of sugar and whip until the meringue holds shiny firm peaks.
Remove the milk from the freezer and stir it again with a fork to break it up and smooth it out. Gently fold in the meringue and put it back in the freezer for another half hour or so until it firms up a bit.
Serve with a dash of cinnamon.