Created by Rabbi Shoshana Ohriner
Although basil might seem like a strange ingredient to include in a dessert, the delicate basil flavor of these meringues is the perfect accompaniment to the creamy strawberry parfait. If you are not feeling so adventurous, substitute 2 teaspoons lemon zest for the basil in the meringues for the more classic strawberry/lemon pairing.
1 16-ounce bag frozen strawberries, thawed with juices
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup sweet sparkling wine such as Moscato d'Asti
2 egg whites, room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
2 medium sized basil leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
To make the Strawberry Parfait:
Puree the berries in food processor. Cover puree and chill until cold, at least 1 hour.
Combine egg yolks, wine and sugar in a medium metal bowl. Set the bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water). Whisk constantly until thick and billowy and a thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 7 minutes.
Remove bowl from over water. Add 1 3/4 cup cold strawberry puree. Using an electric mixer beat mixture until cool, about 7 minutes. Transfer to freezer container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
To make the Basil Meringues:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place the basil in the bowl of the food processor and process until finely ground.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high until light and frothy. Continue beating and add sugar one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is shiny. Continue beating and add in lemon juice. Beat until stiff peaks form. Do not under beat.
Place meringue in a pastry bag fit with a large tip and pipe in small mounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. (A Ziploc bag with a corner cut off works as well.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Turn off oven and leave meringues in until completely dry, approximately two hours. Store meringues in an airtight container.
Scoop the parfait into bowls and garnish with the meringues.
Sweeten any remaining puree to taste and use as a sauce.
Yield: 8, depending on serving size