I have been back to my favourite pastime (other than crafting) you know it, baking. We were invited to a close friend's house for a BBQ yesterday and I was asked to make the pud. And what came to mind? Eton mess, naturally. Perhaps not the ideal dessert to make in an egg shortage! But always a crowd-pleaser. I made a giant one to feed 16.
WHAT A GIANT ETON MESS
- 8 x large egg whites
- 230g caster sugar
- 230g icing sugar, sieved
- Food colouring gel
- 300ml Whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
- 400g fresh strawberries
You will also need:
- Baking parchment
- Large baking sheet
- Electric whisk
- Large bow
Pre-heat the oven to 110C/ 100C fan/gas ¼.
- Line one or 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Separate the eggs and pour the 8 large egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl. Beat them on medium speed with an electric whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks.
- Turn the speed up and start to add 230g caster sugar, a dessert spoonful at a time. Continue beating for 5 seconds between each addition. Adding the sugar slowly at this stage is important as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.
- Sift one-third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy.
- Using the end of a teaspoon, scoop out the food colouring and fold it into the mixture, creating swirl patterns. Don’t over mix as it's nice to get some streaks.
- Scoop the mixture onto the baking sheet or sheets. You can make one giant meringue or two large ones.
- Bake for 1 ½-1 ¾ hours in a fan oven, 1 ¼ hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour.
- Leave to cool on the trays or a cooling rack. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.)
- Whip the cream with some vanilla extract.
- Wash and cut the strawberries in half.
- Place the cooled meringue in a large bowl or plate. Top with the whipped cream then strawberries. For an extra touch of luxury, you can add some raspberry coulis and mint sprigs when serving.