A Big Mess

    Before I begin can I just say a big thank you to Danny from ‘Where’s my Pork Chop?’ who was so lovely about a supper I made him back in October. Have a read of what he had to say about my food at http://wheresmyporkchop.blogspot.com/ and I encourage anyone to get involved with his project!

    With the snow outside, I felt myself harking back to the delights of summer. Unrealistic, I know, but the Eton Mess is an absolute cracker (no Christmas pun intended) and works equally well with gooseberries or rhubarb if you feel like woofing down something a little more extravagant than a fool.

    In the summer, I ventured down the Oxfordshire country lanes to the ‘Pick Your Own’ at the end of the strawberry season and managed to forage around enough to fill a good punnet. Mashed up with some Jersey cream and fresh baked meringues, it’s real crowd pleaser, and if the meringues get snapped up then at least you have strawberries and cream. It would be a nightmare to go without pudding after all.

    People seem to be scared of Pavlova and rightly so as the giant, Alp-like meringue nest undoubtedly burns on the outside and remains raw in the middle, but you don’t have the stress of presentation with this beaut. You can make the meringues in fist-sized dollops, making them so much more manageable (and snackable, not that there’ll be any left over).

    Although they’re best eaten on a summer’s eve (that’s my name!), meringues are easier to make when the temperature is cooler so they are equally acceptable now as they are individual winter wonderlands. Too sappy? Have a big spoonful and then disagree. Here’s the recipe:

    Makes…lots.

    Ingredients

    Loads of fresh strawbs/gooseberries/stewed apple/ rhubarb/plums

    Medium pot of Jersey or whipping cream

    3 egg whites

    175g caster sugar

    1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

  1. First, make the meringues. In a REALLY clean mixing bowl, electric whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks. Then gently continue whisking, adding a tablespoon of the sugar at a time so you get beautiful glossy peaks, a bit like hair mousse but shinier. Add the vinegar (I’m not sure what this does but I’m sure it’s good).
  2. Heat the oven to 140°C.
  3. Put some baking parchment/greaseproof paper on a baking sheet
  4. Put massive dollops of meringue mix on the baking parchment and bake for about an hour.
  5. Leave to cool/smash one on your friend’s head.
  6. Whip the cream.
  7. Wash and roughly chop up the strawbs into bite size chunks.
  8. Mix the cream, smashed meringues and fruit in a big bowl.
  9. Serve with a few spare strawberries on top.
  10. Lick the bowl clean.

5 Responses to “A Big Mess”

  1. The Grubworm says:

    Man this looks tasty. Useful directions too, I always wonder what recipes mean when they say ‘glossy’ or ‘shiny’, hair mousse gives me something concrete to work towards ;)

    Eton Mess is so gloriously tasty and (looking at your recipe) seemingly simple to make. I like that you use it to bring a touch of summer to your winter eating – it’s a good plan.

  2. admin says:

    Oh, thanks so much! So much winter food seems to be all stodge, I can appreciate wanting to feel cosy when it’s cold but that doesn’t mean everything has to be loaded with turnip and swede!

    I had a mooch around your blog too, looks great, so thorough! I’ll have to try out that place in Hackney Wick as it’s in my neck of the woods. E x

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  4. here says:

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