This dessert is inspired by luxury lingerie brand Lucile‘s Spring collection, and I knew right away I wanted to create something a little more special-occasion-y than I usually make. I was really struck by the beautiful pastel silks, particularly the lovely soft pink “Shortness of Time” range, so I decided to turn for inspiration to a gift I received this Christmas: the beautiful, pastel goodness that is the Ladurée sucré cookbook. While my oven and I are in a standoff over macarons (my oven is kind of terrible), there were many other goodies that caught my eye, in particular, the lovely, pale pink Rose Ice Cream. As much as I love rich, bold flavors like chocolate and caramel, I also really get a kick out of desserts with subtler, more unusual flavors (see: favorites Earl Grey Ice Cream with Lavender Caramel Sauce and the recent Rosemary Cookies), and today I’m happy to share my take on this elegant dessert.
I wound up creating my own recipe for the ice cream, because, while this may be blasphemous, I was pretty underwhelmed with Ladurée’s version. Low on cream and extremely high on egg yolks, the final product wasn’t as smooth and creamy as I wanted, and the rose flavor proportions were off, so that it tasted overwhelmingly perfume-y. Furthermore, Ladurée’s recipe calls for rose oil, and though I looked high and low, I could only find therapeutic-grade rose essential oil, which you shouldn’t consume. Edible rose oil seems to be more common in the UK and Europe, so if you have access to rose oil, feel free to experiment with adding a few drops to the custard just before you freeze it.
While the delicate floral scent is lovely and unusual on its own, I thought super-special lingerie deserved an extra-special presentation. Pavlovas traditionally feature meringue, pastry cream or custard, and fruit, but I’ve riffed on it here to offer a dessert that tastes light and fresh, with a hint of cardamom to spice up the flavor profile and pistachios for a slightly savory counterpoint.
For the Rose Ice Cream:
2 c. heavy cream, divided
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. rose syrup (available at specialist and international grocery stores, as well as Amazon)
2 tbsp. rose-water
6 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
Pour 1 c. heavy cream into a medium bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and food coloring (if using); set a mesh strainer on top and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl; set aside. Whisk together the milk, sugar, pinch of salt and remaining 1 c. of cream in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then stir in rose-water and rose syrup. Slowly pour about half of the hot milk/cream mixture into the egg yolks in a thin stream, whisking all the while to avoid cooking the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture thickens, coats the back of a spoon, and steams gently (do NOT boil, and do not heat higher than around 175 degrees Fahrenheit).
Remove custard from heat and pour through the strainer into the remaining 1 c. cream. Chill custard thoroughly until very cold, and then process in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.
For the Cardamom Meringues:
4 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional– cardamom can be quite pronounced, so feel free to leave it out or swap in a spice of your choosing)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium-low speed with a whisk attachment until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until mixture is white, glossy, and thick, with the texture of marshmallow creme, about five minutes. Beat in the cornstarch, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and cardamom.
Divide the meringue into six evenly-sized and evenly-spaced dollops on the prepared baking sheet (alternately, you can transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and pipe neat swirls, as I did). Use a spoon to create “hollows” in the center (for your ice cream to sit in). Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 50 minutes until the outside is crisp and set but the interior is still soft. Cool at room temperature on a wire rack.
Meringues do not keep terribly well, but you can make them the day before serving as long as your store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.
For the Candied Pistachios:
1 c. raw pistachios
1 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, stir together the pistachios and corn syrup. Stir the sugar and salt together and add to the pistachios, tossing to coat. Immediately (so the sugar doesn’t dissolve) spread the pistachios on the prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely at room temperature.
To serve, top each meringue with a scoop or two of rose ice cream. Scatter candied pistachios over the top. Each bite will have a little bit of luscious rose ice cream, crispy-yet-also-gooey-and-marshmallow-y meringue, and crunchy salty-sweet pistachios, and each bite will be divine. Enjoy!
Today’s lingerie pairing comes to us from London, and in fact it comes all the way from 1890, the year Lucile was founded by Lady Duff Gordon. The brand has enormously rich history (it was even name-checked on Downton Abbey), and the modern-day company has become famous for its luxurious, sensual, and romantic silk and lace lingerie, all handmade in the UK. The Spring/Summer collections feature absolutely dreamy silk and lace ensembles in sweet, fresh shades like lavender, pink, and robin’s egg blue, as well as a decadent red and gold range.
I really loved the pale pink “Shortness of Time” collection, featuring a silk boudoir bra, lace balcony bra, gloriously full and twirly silk georgette camisole, and beautiful silk and lace knickers. The silk boudoir bra in particular looks so, so fresh and light (and it would look so lovely worn with the brand’s Indiscretions Gown (vive la froofy robe!)).
I know I’ve been on a luxury kick lately, and I promise I’ll return down from the clouds of opulence with lingerie for us mere mortals soon, but the collection just felt too lovely not to share. So if you find yourself enjoying a heavenly bite of fancy-pants pavlova, and you imagine wearing dreamy pink lingerie while doing so … well, I clearly won’t blame you one bit.