Scheherazade Ice Cream-Meringue Cake
Scheherazade Ice Cream-Meringue Cake
Scheherazade Ice Cream-Meringue Cake. With a pistachio meringue base, delicately perfumed nectarine sorbet, cloud-like yoghurt cream and a scattering of sugared rose petals, this special occasion dessert is a veritable dream of the Orient.
Although it’s made of several components, none are particularly tricky and each can be made ahead of time, so all you have to do is a bit of assembly at the last minute.
1 × Chantilly-yoghurt cream
crystallised rose petals, optional (to garnish)
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) nectarines (about 6)
130 ml (4½ fl oz) water
190 g (6½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
60 ml (2 fl oz) liquid glucose
thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced
juice of 1 lime
1–1½ teaspoons orange blossom water
oil, for greasing
80 g (2¾ oz) blanched pistachios
30 g (1 oz) ground almonds
125 g (4½ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
80 g (2¾ oz) egg whites (about 2)
50 g (1¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
pinch of salt
ice cream maker
To make the sorbet, first peel the nectarines and remove the stones, then weigh the flesh to yield 750 g (1 lb 11 oz), chop it roughly and set aside.
Combine the water, sugar and liquid glucose in a medium saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Add the slices of ginger and bring to the boil. Carefully slip in the chopped nectarines and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes (or up to 10 minutes, if they are firm) until tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool completely. Pick out and discard the slices of ginger, then tip the nectarines and syrup into a food processor and blitz to a very smooth purée.
Stir in the lime juice and orange blossom water, then pour into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon into a 1 litre (34 fl oz) plastic container and freeze until ready to serve.
To make the dacquoise, preheat the oven to 160ºC (320ºF) fan-forced/ 180ºC (350ºF). Lightly oil and line a 33 × 23 cm (13 × 9 in) shallow baking tray with baking paper.
Spread the pistachios on another small baking tray and toast for 5 minutes until lightly coloured. Remove the nuts from the oven, but keep the oven on. Cool the nuts, then tip them into a food processor. Blitz to fine, even crumbs. Add the ground almonds and icing sugar and pulse briefly so they are evenly combined.
Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until they start to froth. Sprinkle on the caster sugar and salt and continue whisking at high speed to stiff, glossy peaks.
Add the nut mixture and use a large metal spoon to fold it in gently but evenly, taking care not to overmix.
Tip the meringue onto the prepared baking tray and use a long spatula to spread it out evenly, all the way into the corners, to a thickness of around 3–5 mm (¹⁄8–¼ in). Bake in the centre of the oven for 8 minutes, then swivel the tray and bake for a further 8 minutes. The surface should be tinted pale gold and the meringue should feel dry to the touch.
Remove the dacquoise from the oven and let it cool in the tin for a few minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Once cold, carefully and slowly peel away the baking paper. Use a long, sharp knife to carefully trim the edges of the dacquoise, then cut it into eight rectangles, each around 11 × 8 cm (4¼ × 3¼ in). Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
When you are ready to assemble the dessert, take the sorbet out of the freezer and allow it to thaw to a workable consistency.
Take the chantilly-yoghurt cream out of the fridge, and have your crystallised rose petals at the ready.
Take the dacquoise portions out of the freezer and carefully cut each one in half, crossways, so you have a total of 16 pieces. (Do this at the last moment to stop them becoming overly chewy.)
Arrange 8 dacquoise pieces on dessert plates. Place a nice rounded scoop of nectarine sorbet on top of each, and sandwich gently with another piece of dacquoise. Top with a quenelle of chantilly-yoghurt cream, then scatter with crystallised rose petals and serve straight away.
This is an edited extract from SUQAR by Greg & Lucy Malouf published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $65 and is available in stores nationally.
Photographer: ©Alan Benson