Friends, Food, Family
When I spent the summer in New Jersey a few years ago, this was the pudding I’d make to eat outdoors, under the trees. It makes me think of long, sunny days, and friends. The combination of crushed meringues, cream and soft fruit is one that rarely fails to please.
I love making meringues: I have a passion for that dense marshmallow-y chewiness in the interior you can’t get in commercial or restaurant offerings. When I was little, my mother, the ace cook, used to make the chewiest meringues in her AGA and sandwich them together with dense whipped cream for birthday parties.
That being said, Eton Mess works perfectly well with shop bought meringues. (Buy the nicest ones you can afford.)
Strawberries are the traditional fruit in an Eton Mess, but I have a few other suggestions.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and line 2 baking trays
with baking parchment.
Tip the egg whites and salt into a scrupulously clean, dry mixing
bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with a hand-held electric
whisk or the mixer until the egg whites are super-fluffy (the stiff
white should not drop off the whisk), but do be careful not to
overbeat as they will start to separate. Then, keeping the whisk
running, add the sugar a spoonful at a time.
Then whisk the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla into the glossy
mixture as quickly as you can.
Heap large spoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the baking
trays, turn the oven down to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and bake
for 30 minutes.
When the cooking time is up, turn off the oven and leave the
meringues inside to cool for 30–60 minutes.
You can serve this either piled onto a large platter for everyone
to help themselves, or you can divide into individual bowls. I
sometimes use vintage tea cups.
Pull the meringues into chunks.
Whip the double cream to soft peaks using a hand-held electric
whisk or a balloon whisk (and a lot of elbow grease). Spoon the
cream and meringue chunks into the platter or cups and tip the
• Mixed berries: raspberries,
• Passionfruit and mango
• Chopped apricots and flaked
• Persimmon and mint
• Strawberries and mint
If you're the kind of person
who likes marshmallow-y
meringues, leave them
to cool in the oven for
only 30 minutes. For the
lovers out there,
leave your meringues in
a cooling oven for as long