Hot Summer Nights

written by Ilene Ross
photographed and styled by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

One of the most recognizable sounds of summer is the nostalgic jingle of the approaching ice cream truck. For generations, all across America, children have been lured out of a near coma-like sleep, dragged from hours in front of the television, or torn from their video games at the first tinny note emitted from that frozen dessert god on wheels.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are those evenings when the ice cream truck would visit our block. I can still hear the screen doors from houses all around slam in Pavlovian unison, and vividly remember the feeling of the cool evening lawn between my toes as my sister and I would go running barefoot to the street. All the neighborhood kids would have their money shoved in their pockets or grasped tightly in their fists. We would wait patiently by the curb for the truck, which, by the way, felt as if it would NEVER get there, so we would attempt to catch the first emerging fireflies of the evening and try to figure out which of the ice cream novelties we would order.

I loved fudge pops and ice cream sandwiches, but sometimes I would go for those cones with the nuts and chocolate on the top. Whichever sticky-sweet delight was the choice of the day, the paper was hastily peeled off, and the battle to finish the treat before the summer heat took over was on. I never won, and spent the next few minutes licking the drips and then licking my fingers.

So, while I’m grown up now, my tastes haven’t really changed all that much. I still desire a cool, sweet treat on a hot summer evening. But some things HAVE changed. I’ll always love ice cream, but sometimes I need something a bit lighter, with a sophisticated shape for entertaining, like these gorgeous, cloud-like meringues with Yagoot frozen yogurt. They’re light, creamy, delicious, and perfect for a dinner party. Best of all, there’s no waiting for a truck. There is, however, a bit of finger licking, as I would never want to miss a single bite.

Yagoot and Raspberry puree on meringue islands
Author: 
Recipe type: Desert
 
Ingredients
Meringues (joyofbaking.com)
  • 3 large egg whites (3 ounces or 90 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) superfine or caster sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar simply take granulated white sugar and process it for about 30-60 seconds in a food processor)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Raspberry Puree (wolfgangpuck.com)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ large lemon (zest and juice)
Topping
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios
Instructions
Meringue Shells
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. You can form the cookies with a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch (1.25 cm) plain tip.
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy.
  5. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks.
  6. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks.
  7. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  8. Note: The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
  9. Note: Before placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding.
  10. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch (1.25 cm) tip.
  11. Pipe 3½-4 inch rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet.
  12. Bake the meringues for approximately 1½ to 1¾ hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking.
  13. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. (The meringues will release easily from the parchment paper.)
  14. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying several hours or overnight.
  15. The meringues can be covered between sheets of parchment paper and stored at room temperature in an airtight container for several days.
  16. Makes about 8 - 3½-4 inch meringues.
Raspberry Puree
  1. In a nonreactive saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries have given up their juices.
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened but is still fairly liquid.
  4. Transfer to a covered nonreactive container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. The puree will keep well for several days.
Assembly
  1. In individual serving plates (or bowls), pour about 2 Tb raspberry puree on bottom of dish.
  2. Add a meringue shell on top of puree.
  3. Scoop desired amounts of Yagoot into each meringue shell. I used a melon baller.
  4. Top with chopped pistachios.

 

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Carolyn - August 4, 2012 - 9:12 am

Gina, this looks incredible! And the images, beautiful, as always! Yumm!!!

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