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Eton Mess

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Make or buy meringues for this recipe. It’s one of the easiest desserts to get right first time.

Serves 6 (halves or doubles easily)

Ingredients

800g fresh or defrosted frozen  berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or a mixture).
2 tablespoons caster sugar
400ml single or double cream
1 large meringue base or 6-7 small meringue shells

Instructions

1. Place the fruit in a bowl with the sugar, leaving aside about 12 whole fruit for garnish. Mash the fruit a little with a fork so the fruit can macerate. Cover and chill.

2. Whip the cream in a large bowl. Crush the meringue and fold into the cream. Use a large spoon to fold in the fruit and any juices. Spoon into one large bowl or 6 small decorative glasses or bowls and top with the fruit that you have put aside.

Eton Mess Recipe Tips

– Change it up by mixing the cream with yogurt or labneh and serve it drizzled with passion fruit flesh.

– It is quicker to make Eton Mess with ‘bought’ meringue cases but you can make your own meringue (see the Meringue recipe below).

– Rhubarb and Passion Fruit Eton Mess: Use cooked rhubarb instead of strawberries – one bunch of rhubarb serves 6 people and squeeze ripe passion fruit on top.

– To make Raspberry Eton Mess for 6 people: You will need 2 punnets of raspberries. Set aside 12 raspberries for decoration (2 for each person). Macerate the raspberries with 1-2 tablespoons of kirsch and chill.

– Blueberry and Passion Fruit Eton Mess: Use 2 punnets of blueberries, reserve about 24 for decoration and squeeze on passion fruit before serving. You will need 3 passion fruits for 6 people.

– Yogurt and Cream Eton Mess: You can use half yogurt and half cream if you would like a bit of acidity in your Eton Mess. It works well to cut through the sweetness of the meringue.

How to make Meringue at home

Recipe doubles easily. The recipe below makes one large meringue case or 6 smaller ones.

2 egg whites
A pinch of salt
140g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/Gas Mark 1/2.

2. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Dust it lightly with flour.

3. Whisk the egg whites and salt in a very clean bowl until the whites are thick and firm and won’t spill out if you hold the bowl above your head. Add half the sugar and whisk until the egg whites firm up again. Fold in the rest of the sugar gently with a large spoon, lifting the egg whites over and over until the sugar is incorporated but making sure not to lose the air in the meringue (don’t even be tempted to stir in the sugar instead of folding it in or your meringue won’t will flop).

4. Take a large spoon or spatula and pour the meringue onto the baking sheet, spreading it out gently into a circle about 1-2 inches high. Or make smaller meringues – just make smaller circles of meringue, leaving an inch between each.

5. Bake the meringue for about 2 hours or until the meringue is cooked and firm to the touch on the outside. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the meringue to firm up and to cool. When it does, loosen it gently with a spatula or palette knife and slip it on the serving plate. (At this stage, you can cover it carefully in cling film and keep it for up to 3 days before using.)

 

Photograph copyright foodpixies.com

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