Leche merengada con higos y anis - citrus and cinnamon soft ice-cream with fresh figs in anis
Leche merengada is a quick frozen dessert made with milk prepared with the holy trinity of citrus, cinnamon and sugar. This recipe makes a wonderful, sweet soft-serve ice-cream, which is at its very best when freshly made. We have teamed this with fresh figs and anis liqueur, but it is just as good with other sweet ripe fruit, especially cherries. You may have a little left over, but that is a bonus for the chef. This recipe is from MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures by Frank Camorra, co-written with Epicure contributor Richard Cornish, Murdoch Books, $45.
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- 4 lemons
- 2 litres milk
- 450g sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 egg whites
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 16 fresh figs, peeled and halved, or 1kg fresh cherries*
- 100ml anis liqueur
- ground cinnamon to dust
To make the leche merengada, peel the lemon rind into very wide strips, carefully avoiding any pith. The larger you make the pieces of rind, the fewer you will have to remove at the end.
Pour the milk into a large saucepan and add the lemon rind, 400g of the sugar and the cinnamon sticks. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer very slowly. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Pour the milk into a 28cm x 34cm, 10cm-deep freezer-proof dish and freeze overnight.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form then add the remaining sugar and the lemon juice and whisk through until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn out the frozen milk into a large stainless steel bowl. Using a metal spoon, break it into very small pieces. Add half the egg whites and whisk this into the frozen milk until it is very smooth, using electric beaters or a balloon whisk. Taste it to make sure it is creamy, without any large ice crystals. Continue whisking until it is very smooth.
Gently fold in the remaining whites then very quickly pour into the cleaned freezer-proof dish and place in the freezer immediately. Freeze for several hours or until it has the consistency of soft serve ice-cream.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the figs with the anis. Serve within 24 hours for the best result. Serve the figs in a bowl, topped with the leche merengada and dusted with ground cinnamon.