Ones first lingering memory of spoom was in Italy.
Pansy? Yes, Dad? Whilst unwelding her mascara from her bleary eyed idle and delirium of a sun lounger, by a pool. Posh up pronto! Said my Father. Coo, I knew not to question and also to get a shift on. WIthin 10 minutes I was fluffed and puffed, a teenager in a micro mini, three hair pieces stacked ala Carmen Miranda sporting potatoes instead of fruit, and false eyelashes that the front end of a pantomime cow would envy, think early Abba. I wince and reflect upon the fact that one wasn’t quite as ‘poshed up’ as I could have managed.
We were whizzed through winding roads, vine yards, up hill, down dale. The driver had the air-con set for perma-frost and I was certainly under dressed for that if nothing else. 20 minutes after that I had been ‘Buttled’ on to an Italianate marble terrace. The Villa overlooking a lake which could have been from a movie set. This lanky, gawky teen was further buttled and ushered to sit. My Father said he would be ten minutes and during this time the Butler said something like “Goooood affftairnoon EZZpoomb?” One nodded although clueless. Smarty here had learned gracious nodding from ones Mater. I snapped into:-Head up, straight back, ankles crossed, knees together, hands loosely clasped and an all-knowing regal smile mode. One had ‘arrived’.
Hair pieces and pantomime cow eye lashes were detached and placed swiftly into Grannies bestest portmanteau (I’d explain later why she would find the entire contents of her handbag upended on her bed). Now wearing her sunglasses I was esthetically more comfortable but a tad blind in one eye as they were prescription, they swiftly became a continental hair band. The Butler returned with an ornate gilt salva, placed a crisp, white monogrammed linen napkin over my lap. His unassuming professionalism was a joy to behold as he used a spoon and fork to place the napkin (over the barelegged space which I wished to high heaven was covered with skirt fabric). Another napkin placed onto the jazzy marble table. A plate, dressed with a limone leaf and wedge which had a pig tail scroll. The glass goblet was mighty heavy, cranberry pink and cut to reveal clear crystal which sent glitter ball rays of diamond light in every direction. A little silver shovel delicately placed proper superdooper limone sorbet in the glass, a long spoon, gilded and very baroque placed next to the plate. My freeze-frame bubble burst as I could hear my Fathers voice getting closer and he duly arrived as shudderingly cold Prosecco was poured over the sorbet.
He arrived with our host, a dapper little caricature who welcomed me to his humble home and kissed the back of my hand.
“Nice to see you’ve made yourself at home then kid?” said ones disapproving and protective Papa. Just as swiftly, as before, a larger salver arrived, similarly set. Though steeped in teenage embarrassment, I watched carefully as more sorbet was deployed into the exquisitely decadent antique glasses, more crisp linen napery, more spoons, slices of fresh limone … at that point words failed, they still do.
We were brought back to our hotel on one of his boats. (Oh but of course we were! Well, I say boat, launch I neither knew or cared, same driver so obviously times were tight?) As we were whipped away there was a jolt and Grannies glasses were whipped away by the breeze and sploshed, never to be seen again. She was as cool as ever about the bag borrowing thing but couldn’t for the life of her remember where she left her sun glasses?
To make my ‘proper’ version, use Italian meringue ( hot sugar syrup ). Roughly half a cup of icing sugar to half a cup of water to make a syrup, add to egg whites that are whipped to stiff peaks, combine hot syrup. Fold the semi-cooked meringue into sorbet which can be either store-bought or hand cranked. It’s as simple as that and there have been many subsequent versions all inspired bt the formative.
Spruma is froth in Italian. An espuma a modern-day version of a soda syphon, using N2O ( nitrous oxide) but the canister holds the wonders of cheffi gloup becoming an insta-mousse-making-foam-machine.
Spoom appears to therefore be a hybrid of all but from what I can ascertain it’s sorbet softened with meringue and topped with a gorgeous liquid..
This simple pear version is this summers little Italy for me, many decades later. I’m still inspired and use a stilton ‘shovel’ when putting sorbet into a glass as my nod to the past. The sorbet is embarrassingly simple to make. Take a can of pears and drain the juice. Whizz the fruit in a food processor to a fine puree. Place the pulp onto a flat metal tray or ice-cube tray and freeze. This makes a delicate and wonderful sorbet, simple as that.
Two egg whites whisked to stiff peaks with a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar for sweetness, fold through the almost set pear pulp. This becomes the meringue-sorbet that I have used for you in this version of Pear Spoom.
Pears can be petty about their stages of ripening, should you be blessed with a glut of fresh, ripe pears. Just peel, core, whizz and freeze the pulp, insta sorbet! If they are threatening to brown zap ‘um with some fresh lime juice, that’ll serve them right for misbehaving!
This version with fresh herbs, white rose petals, pink champagne over the pear sorbet and a few blackberries.
Dad was a car enthusiast and sourced the part for the seriously minted Lagonda owner and sent it with his compliments shortly after we arrived home. I offered to take it but sadly ……