Temperatures have been soaring this summer all across Europe. Here in Paris we are even approaching one of the hottest days on record. Parisians have been keeping cool with iced drinks on shady terraces, window-shopping in air-conditioned department stores and even a few dips in the waters of La Seine. Enter my favorite summertime dessert, vacherin. A vacherin is the perfect treat to make in August with alternating layers of crunchy meringue, creamy vanilla ice cream and tart raspberry sorbet all topped with summer berries.
There are three parts to this recipe and its best to begin the day before you plan to serve to allow time for the vacherin to freeze properly.
- 300grams caster sugar
- 150grams egg whites
- 5 cups of fresh raspberries
- 1 cup of water
- 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 pint of your favorite vanilla ice cream
I have found the Meringue Girls recipe foolproof for perfect meringue. Preheat your oven to 200c. Line a small baking tray with baking parchment, pour in the caster sugar and heat it in the oven for 7 minutes. Heating the sugar helps to create a glossy, stable mixture. Pour the egg whites into a mixer and whisk them slowly, allowing small stabilising bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
Take the sugar out of the oven, and turn oven down to 100’c (leave the door open to help speed this up.) With your mixer on full speed, very slowly spoon the hot sugar into the beaten egg whites, making sure the mixture comes back up to stiff peaks after each addition of sugar. Once you have added all the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed until you have a smooth, stiff and glossy mixture. You should continue to whisk for at least 5 minutes once sugar has incorporated. Feel a bit of the mixture between your fingers; if you can still feel the gritty sugar, keep whisking at full speed until it has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, stiff and glossy.
The meringue is ready to be spooned into your piping bag. Take a 10cm x 21cm loaf tin and trace the bottom of the pan onto parchment paper four times using a pencil. Pipe your meringue into 1cm thick rectangles using the template as a guide. You can smooth the top of rectangles with a palette knife. Bake your 4 meringue rectangles for about 35-45minutes or until they come clean off the parchment paper. Set aside to cool.
Raspberry Sorbet Method
- Add raspberries and water to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
- Place a sieve over a large bowl to strain the raspberry puree of any seeds using the back of a large spoon or spatula. I found doing this step twice creates a very smooth creamy sorbet free from any small seeds.
- Add sugar, vanilla and lemon juice to the raspberry liquid and whisk until well combined.
- Transfer to a shallow container and freeze for at least 2 hours before using.
Remove ice cream and sorbet from freezer to soften slightly. Line your loaf tin with a sheet of baking paper cut down to fit inside snugly. Place a meringue rectangle at the bottom. Spread a layer of vanilla ice cream over the meringue base to about 1cm thick. Place the next layer of meringue on top. Spread a layer of raspberry sorbet to about 1cm thick. Place the next rectangle of meringue atop the raspberry sorbet. Spread the last layer of vanilla ice cream on top. Add the final meringue rectangle on top. Wrap in foil and freeze overnight.
I like to pipe out a few meringue kisses with the leftover meringue to use as decoration on top of the vacherin. I included currants and fresh raspberries to finish it off. I love raspberry sorbet with vanilla but your favorite sorbet flavor would work just as well. I imagine mango or passion-fruit sorbet would be a brilliant substitute.