We have the French to thank for the impressive, yet simple, dessert of vacherin, which is made by layering meringue discs and ice cream. This recipe uses ready-made ice cream, but you can substitute your favourite home-made ice cream (chocolate with roasted hazelnuts is a good flavour combination).
3 egg whites, at room temperature
220 g (7¾ oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
600 ml (21 fl oz) vanilla ice cream
125 g (4½ oz) frozen raspberries
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) thickened (whipping) cream
2 tablespoon pistachios, toasted and finely chopped
125 g (4½ oz/1 cup) fresh raspberries, to serve
Icing (confectioners') sugar, to dust
250 g (9 oz) frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Mark two 18 cm (7 inch) circles on a piece of non-stick baking paper. Turn the paper over and place on a large baking tray.
2. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of the caster sugar until soft peaks form. With the motor running, add 110 g (3¾ oz/½ cup) of the remaining caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition, until very thick and glossy. Use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold in the remaining caster sugar until well combined.
3. Divide the meringue between the two marked circles and use a palette knife to spread evenly. Bake for 8 minutes until starting to set. Reduce the oven temperature to 90°C (190°F/Gas ½) and bake for a further 2 hours, until crisp and dry all the way through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
4. Meanwhile, to make the raspberry coulis, put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the raspberries break down. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Line a round 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Place a meringue disc in the tin, trimming to fit if necessary.
6. Scoop the ice cream into a large bowl and set aside at room temperature for 5–10 minutes, until softened slightly but not melted. Add the frozen raspberries and quickly stir through until evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into the tin, gently pressing down with the back of the spoon to remove any air pockets. Top with the remaining meringue disc, trimming to fit if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3 hours or until firm.
7. To serve, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Remove the vacherin from the freezer, remove from the tin and transfer to a chilled serving plate. Spread with the whipped cream, sprinkle with the pistachios and top with the fresh raspberries. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the coulis.