Make the biscuit: Whip egg yolks in an electric mixer with the water and half the sugar until doubled in volume. Whip egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then slowly add the remaining sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold yolks and whites together. Sift flour over the egg mixture and fold in. Do not overmix. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with greaseproof paper, then grease the sides and the paper. Pour batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Allow to cool slightly and turn cake out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. Cut the cake using a 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter into 4 circles. Place them in the empty 9 by 9-inch pan until the syrup and vanilla custard are ready.
Make the custard: Combine the vanilla bean and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. In a stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour boiling milk over egg yolks. Whisk together. Return to the sauce pan and simmer until thickened. Be careful not to overcook the mixture. While custard is still warm, pour over the biscuit circles.
Make the syrup: Bring sugar and water to the boil. Add kirsch. Pour half over the biscuit circles. Reserve the other half.
Make the meringue: Prepare a medium saucepan with water and the milk. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Whip egg whites in an electric mixer to soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks are formed. Take two tablespoons and form spoonfuls of meringue into balls. Drop into the simmering liquid and poach the meringue for 4 minutes. Do not let mixture boil. Allow to cool on a paper towel. Make a total of 12 meringue balls.
Make raspberry sauce: Puree the raspberries, sugar and liqueur. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved sugar syrup if necessary to correct consistency. Strain sauce.
Assemble dessert: Place soaked biscuit in the center of a serving plate. Arrange beautifully the raspberries into a pyramid-like shape. Arrange 3 pieces poached meringue on the top of the raspberries. Drizzle the raspberries around the edge of the plate. Optional: bake biscuit in 4 individual savarin molds and fill with ice cream or sorbet and build raspberries around the outside.
Copyright 1998, Patrick Woodside, All Rights Reserved