I know Summer has arrived when there is the sound of ice cream trucks wafting through the humid air, there is a quiet stillness in the air, and all I want is something refreshing and cold, especially dessert. One of my favorite things to eat when it is sweltering out is ice cream, hence this dessert that is currently on the menu. This sweet dish is reminiscent of a Creamsicle, with its orange curd, and vanilla-flecked quark cheesecake. I was inspired when using quark, a fresh cheese, and citrus together, just how much it reminded me of a classic orange Creamsicle. This dessert is an homage to the hot summer afternoons of my childhood chasing down the ice cream truck for a cold treat. A quark cheesecake entremet is molded, with an orange curd center and vanilla cake on the bottom. The quark cheesecake is flecked with vanilla beans, lemon and orange zest. There is orange sauce on the bottom to boost the orange flavor. All this is paired with a tarragon sherbet and orange sorbet that has been swirled together, adding another element of Creamsicle flavor. For texture, we add a white chocolate meringue, using Valrhona Opalys, the white chocolate adding depth to the dairy elements in the dish. To finish this off, anise flowers, for a fennel-esque kick to aid the hint of tarragon flavor. All this equals a very light and refreshing dessert, an adult homage to a childhood classic.
This is a dish of mistakes. The meringue wasn't suppose to crack, the sauce should be thicker, and does lime even go with dates?! Mistakes happen, but this is a trifecta of nothing turning out right. Out of the entire batch, I had one meringue kiss that wasn't cracked and honestly it was not that appealing. I loved the cracked meringues. They were imperfectly gorgeous and resembled something The Flintstones would eat. While I should have thickened the sauce, I didn't want the texture to compete with the thick toffee. And dates and lime? Yes, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. This dessert is composed of meringue filled with lime curd, moist brown sugar date cake, a decadent toffee sauce, and blueberry compote. It's not your typical flavor pairings, but sometimes, things work out. Mistakes can be a blessing in disguise.
The arrival of spring immediately brings to mind one of fruit, lemon. While citrus is a winter fruit, I can't help but correlate the tart and crisp flavors of lemon to spring. It's refreshing, and March is all about hitting refresh on your daily routines. The layers of clothing slowly come off, the sun doesn't disappear after 4pm, and the warm weather is energizing. Once I learned how to make lemon curd, I was hooked. The combination of eggs, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and butter is tangy, citrusy, and delicious. To highlight one of my favorite flavors, this dessert is a play on a lemon meringue tart. It is made with lemon curd, shortbread shell, meringue crisps, yogurt with blood orange juice, and fresh figs. Just imagine a creamy and citrusy curd, with a buttery tart shell, crispy and crunchy meringue, tangy yogurt, sweet blood orange juice, and a ripe fresh fig. Separately, they're good. But together all the components add up to a light and refreshing dessert perfect for the arrival of spring.