Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meyer Lemon Amaretti Ice Cream Pots

The Meyer lemon is a cross between a mandarin or common orange and a true lemon. As the story goes, in 1908 the agricultural explorer Frank Nicolas Meyer introduced the fruit to the United States after collecting a sample during a trip to China. Meyer lemons are even skinned little globes with numerous seeds tucked into very juicy, sweet flesh. Their beauty alone makes them hard to resist.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a bag of Meyer lemons and some fresh mint thinking I'd make lemonade. After looking through a few recipes I decided instead to make a dessert using Balthazar’s Frozen Lemon Parfait and Nigel Slater’s Lemon Amaretti Cream Pots. Wanting a bit of sour, I kept the measures of cream and plain yogurt, which yielded about 2 cups extra lemon cream that, according to Balthazar's recipe, I decided to freeze. The refrigerated pots were so good, but the frozen cream was a hundred times better -the texture about as perfect as ice cream gets.

Meyer Lemon Amaretti Ice Cream Pots

1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (about 7 lemons)
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup thick natural yogurt
3 eggs, separated
a pinch of fine sea salt

for the amaretti base
1 cup crisp amaretti biscuits
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and reduce to 1/2 cup of syrup over about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream into soft billowy folds (not peaks) and refrigerate. Combine the egg yolks and the lemon syrup in a bowl and beat at medium speed for 5 minutes, until bright and smooth. Wipe out a separate, clean bowl and add the pinch of sea salt. Add the egg whites and beat at high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the lemon-yolk mixture. Bring the whipped cream out of the refrigerator and quickly whip the yogurt into it. Fold into the lemon mixture.

Place the amaretti biscuits in a strong sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Dump into a small bowl and stir in the sea salt. Melt the butter on low heat and add to the biscuit mixture, stirring well to combine. In each of 6 ramekins place about 2 Tablespoons of the biscuit mixture and press evenly into the bottom. Pour the lemon cream on top and freeze at least 2 hours. Pour the remaining lemon cream into an airtight container and freeze.

Serve the pots and the ice cream with a little Meyer lemon zest, a sprig of mint, half a berry and a thin chocolate biscuit.


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