Jean-Georges Vongerichten takes advantage of the first strawberries of summer to make this perfect alfresco dessert. As the red wine–infused sorbet melts, it forms a tart sauce for the sweet, tender berries, which also get topped with crunchy bits of meringue, a splash of aged balsamic and fresh whipped cream.
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5 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered, plus 30 medium strawberries, hulled, for garnish
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
Vanilla ice cream, aged balsamic vinegar and sweetened whipped cream, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 200°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at high speed until soft peaks form. With the machine on, slowly pour in the sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Using a spatula, spread the meringue on the prepared baking sheet in a 1-inch layer. Bake for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside with the door closed for 1 hour. The meringue should be crisp and snowy white on the outside and slightly chewy within. Break the meringue into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, toss the 2 pounds of quartered strawberries with the lemon juice. In a medium saucepan, stir the red wine with the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan; save the bean for another use. Warm the wine syrup over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the syrup over the strawberries. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the strawberries and syrup until chilled, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the strawberries and syrup to a food processor and puree. Transfer the strawberry puree to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Place a scoop each of the sorbet and vanilla ice cream into bowls. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Top with the whole strawberries, whipped cream and a few meringue pieces and serve.
The baked meringue can be kept overnight in an airtight container. The sorbet can be frozen for up to 3 days.
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