Kitchen Cadets: Downright Eton mess

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Three-year-old Lulu looks up at me as if I've done something incredibly naughty. With mouth open and eyes wide, humoured and worried at once, she says: "You broke them!" The second she cottons on to the fact we are allowed to destroy the perfect meringues we'd made, she's all-hands-in embracing the task, only slightly withholding her obvious delight at the mess we were making. As luck would have it, this recipe combines two of Lulu's favourite things, "raspberries" and "pavlova". Close enough.

Kitchen Cadets: Downright Eton mess
Photo: Marco Del Grande

Ingredients

  • Whites from 3 large eggs
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 punnet fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 250 ml cream, whipped

Method

To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 120C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, or a whisk, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat on the highest speed, until stiff peaks are formed but still soft and a little wet. Gradually beat in two tablespoons of sugar and beat for two to three minutes, until very stiff. Fold in the remaining sugar using a metal spatula or spoon, until lightly mixed. Using two large spoons, dollop the mixture onto the trays to form meringue shapes, leaving a space of at least two centimetres between each. Bake for 1½ hours, then remove from oven and let cool. To make the Eton mess, place four meringues in a plastic bag and crush until broken into two-centimetre shapes. Combine half the strawberries and all the raspberries in a bowl and mash with a fork, until juicy and pulped, then add cream and broken meringues. Carefully spoon the mixture into six glasses, then top with remaining strawberries, sliced, and serve immediately.

Boys at elite English school Eton invented this dish. Apparently the top-hat wearing children smashed the school pudding of meringues, strawberries and cream to make this downright Eton mess. Let the juice of the crushed strawberries and raspberries dribble down the inside of glasses, and add less cream for a healthier version.

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  • Cuisine - British
  • Course - Dessert

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