Eton mess

Any restaurant kitchen always has a surfeit of egg whites. Over the years Frith Street has tried to combat this waste by serving two puddings: pavlova and this nursery treat of crushed meringues, whipped cream and raspberries. Latterly I have rather come down against pavlova and opted for Eton mess instead. This is not a result of some mid-life crisis in my cooking, driving me towards my native cuisine, but because it is simple and I personally love it.

Ingredients

  • 200 ml double cream, whipped with caster or vanilla sugar to taste (Chantilly cream)
  • 500 g raspberries

Meringues

  • 6 egg whites
  • 350 g caster sugar

Method

Making the Meringues

Preheat the oven to 110°C/225°F/Gas ¼. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with non-stick baking parchment. Place the egg whites in a very clean bowl and beat with a balloon whisk for 4-5 minutes until they have the texture of soft snow. Add half the sugar and continue beating until the whites firm up and form a peak on the end of the whisk. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for a few moments until the meringue mixture is both firm and glossy. Form balls of the mixture with two serving spoons and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 2½ hours. Allow to cool completely.

Assembling the Mess

Make the Chantilly cream. Into the same bowl crumble 6 of the meringues, then add the raspberries, and mix everything, taking care that the whole thing still looks a mess. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Variation

Substitute some slightly softened vanilla ice-cream for the Chantilly cream, and serve immediately.

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