Vacherin au Citron

Vacherin au Citron (vah-shcy-rahn oh see-trawn) is an unusual and sophisticated dessert. The piquancy of the lemon and orange flavourings contrasts superbly with the sweetness of the meringue.

6-8 SERVINGS

5 egg whites

10 oz. castor sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

2 teaspoon lemon essence

FILLING

3 oz. unsalted butter, softened

12 oz. icing sugar

2 egg yolks

2 drops orange food colouring grated rind of

½ orange

1 tablespoon orange-flavoured liqueur (optional)

1 tablespoons double cream

4 oranges, peeled, white pith removed and sliced

Preheat the oven tc cool 300CF (Gas Mark 2, 150°C). With a pencil draw a 9-inch circle (use a plate as a guide) on a piece of non-stick silicone paper. Place the paper on a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form stiff peaks. Beat in 2 ounces of the sugar and continue beating for 1 minute or until the mixture is very stiff and glossy. (You should be able to turn the bowl upside-down without the mixture falling out.) Using a metal spoon, fold in the remaining sugar, the lemon rind and lemon essence.

Spoon one-third of the mixture on to the circle of paper to make a layer about !-inch thick. Fill a large forcing bag, fitted with a 1-inch nozzle, with the remaining mixture and pipe it around the edge of the circle in decorative swirls, to form a case.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the meringue for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven for a further 30 minutes or until it is crisp on the outside but still soft in the centre.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and leave the meringue to cool completely. When it is cold, lift it off the baking sheet and carefully remove and discard the paper from the bottom. Set aside.

To make the filling, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is soft and creamy. Add the icing sugar and cream it with the butter until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the egg yolks and beat well.

Stir in the orange food colouring, orange rind, liqueur, if you are using it, and the cream and mix the ingredients together until they are thoroughly com-bined. Spoon the mixture into the meringue case, smoothing it with the back of the spoon. Arrange the slices of orange on top and serve the vacherin immediately.

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