The combination of strawberries and a balsamic vinegar reduction is a classic for good reason, made with ripe and flavorful strawberries it is simply amazing. For a while now I have been thinking on how to make the strawberry-balsamic reduction work in a frozen entremet or ice cream cake. After several experiments and fine tuning I must say that this particular frozen entremet is really, really good. At times strawberry ice cream can make you long for a deeper strawberry flavor, but not here, this hybrid of gelato and sorbet is rich and robust in flavor.
The sweetness of the meringue is dually tamed here, first by the addition of cocoa nibs and second by the balsamic vinegar, which is the perfect accompaniment to the strawberry flavor.
Getting It All Together!
Prepare the meringue up to a week in advance, store airtight to maintain crispness. Assemble the frozen entremet or frozen ice cream cake a full day before serving, this will allow proper firming in the ring.
Assembly: Upside down
Prepare a French meringue as described in On Baking, second edition on page 414and fold in 3 oz (90 g) cocoa nibs along with second amount of granulated sugar. Pipe into circles, slightly smaller of the rings diameter. Bake as described and trim slightly after baking to make the meringue slightly smaller than the ring.
Place a ring on a patterned silform and set aside.
Fill the bottom of the ring with just churned strawberry gelato. Place a meringue layer onto the gelato. Fill with a small amount of gelato and then the balsamic reduction. More gelato and finish off with the meringue disk. Freeze overnight.
Turn upside down and unmold with the use of a torch.
Yield: one 8 inch (22 cm) cake
|3 Cups||(24 oz)||Strawberry puree, professional Quality and cold in temp.||720 g|
|1 ½||(12 oz)||Filtered or Spring water||360 ml|
|2 Cups minus 2 Tbsp
|Extra fine granulated sugar
|6 Tbsp||(3 oz)||Invert sugar||90 g|
|1 Cup + 2 Tbsp||(9 oz)||Whipping cream, non whipped||270 g|
- Pour the water in a saucepan. Combine the sugar with the pectin (if using) real well and whisk into the water, add the invert sugar. Bring to a full boil and remove from heat. Cover with plastic food wrap and place in an ice bath to completely cool.
- Add the cream and cold strawberry puree. Ensure that the mixture is very cold before churning.
Balsamic vinegar reduction recipe
Yield: 4-5 Tablespoons (60-75 g)
|2 Cups||(16 oz)||Balsamic vinegar||480 g|
- Bring the balsamic vinegar in a non reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel) to a boil and bring to a medium simmer.
- Simmer approximately 20-30 minutes until the mixture thickens and coats a spoon (The consistency of whipping cream). Be careful as near the end the product can burn if reduced too much.
- You can always reduce more if necessary; the reduction should be sweet and sharp simultaneously.
Tip: At home I usually reduce balsamic vinegar outside on the burner of the grill since it is a very smelly process!