Prep: 1 hour + Oven: 1h 45 mins + 8 hours freezing – Serves 8 – Worth the effort
For the meringue:
Preheat the oven to 120°C fan.
Put the egg whites in a bowl with a pinch of salt and beat with an electric whisk until they form soft peaks. Keep whisking and gradually add the sugar, 2 spoonfuls at a time, whisking for 20 to 30 seconds between each addition. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is stiff and shiny.
Dye the meringue with blue food colouring until it has the desired shade (you will need quite a lot!), whisking to evenly distribute the dye.
Place a 23cm springform on a sheet of baking paper. Draw a circle around the springform with a pencil. Place the sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and evenly distribute the meringue mix all over the circle drawn on the baking paper.
Bake the meringue for 1h 45 mins, then leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, transfer to a tray or plate lined with baking paper. Press the springform ring (without the bottom) onto the meringue, so the meringue becomes the bottom. Store any meringue brittle that may have fallen off the sides in a bowl and keep as decoration for later. Set aside.
For the vanilla ice cream layer:
Separate the eggs into two bowls. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks.
Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds; add to the egg yolks with the sugar and whisk until pale.
Add the beaten egg whites to the egg yolks, but don’t mix yet.
Pour the cream into the bowl you used for the egg whites and beat until stiff.
Add the whipped cream to the egg yolks and stiff egg whites and fold in gently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until no big lumps are left. Don’t overmix , as you want it to stay light and fluffy.
Spread the vanilla ice cream evenly over the meringue, cover the surface with cling film and freeze for at least 4 hours.
For the strawberry ice cream layer:
Once the vanilla ice cream layer has set, make the strawberry ice cream layer.
Wash and trim the strawberries and put into a blender with the icing sugar, cream and lemon juice. Blend into a purée.
Transfer the purée to an ice cream maker and churn until it has thickened.
Remove the cling film from the vanilla ice cream layer and spread the strawberry ice cream evenly over the vanilla ice cream. Cover the surface with cling film and freeze for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, wash the strawberries, trim and cut into halves.
Make some whipped cream by whisking the cream with the icing sugar until stiff. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle.
Take the spring form out of the freezer and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes until the ring comes off easily (you can cut around the edges if it sticks).
Put the vacherin onto a cake plate and decorate with the strawberry halves, a circle of whipped cream and blue meringue brittle. Serve immediately.
• You can bake the meringue the day before making the ice cream
• This vacherin keeps in the freezer for 1 month without the strawberries and whipped cream topping – add these just before serving.