Sunday, 23 May 2010
Finally the weather has taken a turn to the utterly beautiful. Oxford is never better than on a warm summer day - lazing up and down the river on a punt, lounging with a picnic in the botanical gardens...
Eton Mess is a simply gorgeous summer dessert. It just is. I decided to make it to celebrate the lovely weather (that, and it's on the list and I had leftover meringue from my Meringue Gems).
I like to mix strawberries and raspberries in Eton Mess - they add a slightly tart taste (especially as they're not in season now!). It's such a simple dessert but so lovely - the fresh, sweet berries with the crunchy, slightly chewy meringue against the smooth, soft whipped cream.
In a way, it's almost like Strawberry Meringue Cake minus the cake part.
A lot of store bought meringues distress me. So often they just turn into dust and taste of absolutely nothing. For this I wanted more than white chunks of glued together dust so I made my own. I like my meringue - especially in Eton Mess - to be crisp golden chunks with a bit of soft marshmallow in the middle and a fair amount of sugary chew. I find chucking the bits post-chunking up back in the oven before serving helps this goal.
A few additions/changes can easily be made - a little bit of balsamic tossed with the strawberries could be nice. I think Delia purees some of the fruit to marble through the cream. You don't really need a recipe for this - it's just a good amount of lightly whipped cream, a load of berries and a bowl of meringue chunks.
For the meringue:
2 egg whites
105g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 100C. Put the egg whites into a mixer and beat until you a thick foam. Slowly add the caster sugar then whisk until very thick and glossy (this takes about 2 minutes) - when the whisk is lifted out, you should have a stiff peak in the bowl and on the whisk. Dollop spoons onto a lined baking sheet. Bake the meringues for 1 hour minutes, then leave to cool in the oven until fully cold. Just before serving, crunch it up a bit - the middle should still be squishy and foamy - and if desired, pop back in the oven at 150C for ten minutes or until it is a bit crunchier and golden on the outside.
punnet of raspberries
punnet of strawberries
200ml double cream
Chop the fruit up a little so that the juices are let out - I quartered my strawberries and halved the raspberries. Softly whip the double cream. Mix it all together with 2/3 of the fruit ad all but a few pieces of meringue, then serve and top with the remaining fruit and crumble a little bit of meringue on top.
(Serves 4 or 5)