As I was reviewing all these great summer refreshments submitted by your readers, it suddenly brought back an event in my life that I am not proud of; even after 20 years I still feel guilty to participate in such a childish prank, when we were way above the allowed age.
My sister and I knew that our little brother loves smoothies and he knew that we are great cooks. He was very excited when we offered to make him a nice smoothie with fresh berries, but we forgot to mention that we added a heaping tablespoon of hot Hungarian paprika to the mixture. I can still see the poor guy’s red face and teary eyes after taking a large sip from the glass. He did not talk to us for months (and I do not blame him) following this event, even after we bought him a large box of chocolate truffles from the best coffee house in Budapest.
Aside from this not so nice event, come to think of it, we were actually pioneers in using spices in sweet drinks to bring out their sweetness and flavor. Today, we create a variety of chocolate ganache formulations with such spices as chili, paprika, turmeric, etc.
We still prepare from time-to-time similar smoothies, but we use a teaspoon of sweet Hungarian paprika.
Soak the dried cherries in any liqueur you have at your disposal for 30 minutes. I used Sabra, an Israeli Orange/Chocolate Liqueur.
Prepare the chocolate curls by using a vegetable peeler; I used Valrhona Dark 72%
Whip up the heavy cream; make sure that the cream, as well as the bowl and the beaters are cold for better results. Right before the cream appears to be attaining the correct consistency, add the vanilla extract and he powdered crystallized ginger and continue to whip the cream for another 30 seconds. Keep the cream in an airtight container until use.
Prepare the Smoothie:
Place everything in a food processor and process it until completely pureed; you can either strain it (to remove the seeds) or just pour the smoothie into an airtight container and place the container in the freezer.
Assemble the Float:
place the smoothie (which is now frozen, like a granita, but will defrost, once you pour the soda into the glass) into a tall wine glass, about 1/3 full;
Add on top of the berry smoothie 1 scoop of ice cream of your choice - I used chocolate/hazelnut gelato in 1 glass and pistachio gelato in the other
Add another level of frozen berry smoothie, about the same amount you used in the bottom of the glass;
Add on top of the smoothie 2 scoops of ice cream; it can be the same ice cream you used before, but it is perfectly acceptable to use another flavor.
Pour the lime-flavored Perrier to cover the ice cream
Top his with the gingered whipped cream;
Decorate with the chocolate curls and dried cherries