Baby, it’s HOT outside, and all I want to do is dive into this Berry Eton Mess, right now!
Summer comes a few months early in the Middle East. This year, it came with the dawn of April. It felt like temperatures rose overnight, and we were suddenly stuck in this sticky sweaty state. Almost instantly we were reaching for ice cubes to toss into our drinks, and lingering in the ice cream aisles in the supermarket.
So it got me pondering. I asked myself, ‘What does summer mean to you?’
Growing up, it meant summer camp. Well, not in the true sense of the term, for I know summer camp in the rest of the world includes an overnight stay facility in the woods, or by a lake, with tonnes of activities. Forgive me, but I AM basing this assumption purely on Camp Rock! 😛
Out here, summer camp is a three-week long affair, wherein children would gather at the church premises and have evenings filled with dancing and singing, games and sports and – who are we kidding – praying too! But it was those stolen moments between the activities that ended up being the best memories. Ice slipped down friends’ backs, impromptu water fights, the deepening of friendships and ah, summer love (and all the gossip surrounding it!).
Once I was away at college, summer meant coming home. It meant meeting friends I had grown up with, days out in the scorching heat by the beach, and tonnes of sleepovers.
Then I met my now husband. And summers meant staying up all night texting, movie marathons at home, spending all our pocket money catching the new releases at the cinema, and ice cream dates.
Summer can be a bright and beautiful time. But in can also mean heat waves and impossible temperatures, a really hard time of year. We all experience summer differently. And each summer has a whole new meaning, a whole new effect.
This summer is off to a rough start. We are collectively experiencing a pandemic that has brought suffering, pain, sorrow, fear and anxiety. All we can do is lay low, wait it out, pray for those who are hurting, and use our voices remotely for better management of our country’s responses. All we can do is try to find little pockets of sunshine during a very grey, bleak time. All we can do is hope.
I’m dreaming of summers when kids can laugh and play and mingle outdoors. Summers when love can blossom and bloom. Summers when we won’t be afraid to hug and hold our loved ones close. And summers when we can enjoy the sun caressing our skin again.
But until then, I’ll leave you with this recipe for these incredible Berry Eton Messes – a slice of summer, a splash of colour and a myriad of flavours and textures that work beautifully together!
Here’s what you need:
- Egg Whites – 2 large
- Caster Sugar – 120 g + 6 tbsp, separated
- Strawberries and Raspberries – 250 g
- Blackberries and Blueberries – 250 g
- Whipping Cream – 450 ml
- Icing Sugar – 1 tbsp
Here’s how you make these lip-smacking summer desserts:
- Make the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 120 ºC/ 248 ºF. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they reach soft peaks. While still beating, add 120 grams of caster sugar in three lots, making sure the sugar is well whipped in after each addition. Continue to beat till the meringue achieves stiff peaks and the sugar is completely dissolved. (A great way to tell if the meringue has reached the stiff-peak stage is to overturn the bowl over your head and nothing should fall out. No kidding!)
- Bake the Meringues: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe little swirls of meringues about an inch away from each other. Pop the tray into the oven and bake for an hour until hard and the meringues come off the paper easily. Once done, turn off the oven and leave them in to cool completely
- Make Berry Sauces: While the meringues are baking, place two small pots on low heat and empty the strawberries and raspberries into one and the blackberries and blueberries into the other. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar to each pot and allow to cook. The berries will mush up slowly. If you’d like your sauce to be more jammy with chunks of fruit, take them off the heat at the point at which you are happy with the texture. Alternatively, you can heat the sauces until the berries disintegrate completely and then strain them for a smooth coulis. Cool completely.
- Whip the Cream: Place the whipping cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whip till the cream is airy and smooth, and of piping consistency.
- Layer the Berry Eton Messes: Once the meringue and the sauces have cooled completely, spoon dollops of whipped cream into glasses, pour each of the sauces over it, then crush a few meringues into the glass. Spoon some more whipped cream and sauce over the Eton Messes and serve immediately.
TIP: Once cooled, make sure the meringues are always in air tight containers up until the moment they are ready to be served. If they are exposed to air, the crust will moisten and the inner part of the meringue cookie will turn chewy.
These Berry Eton Messes are everything you want a good summer dessert you be – light, airy, easy to make with a refreshing flavour profile. Truth be told, the meringue cookies were good enough to be eaten on their own – crispy on the outside and soft and marshmellow-y on the inside. The sweetness of the meringue cookies was contrasted by the rich fluff of the whipped cream, and the tart freshness of the berry sauces cut right through to balance it all beautifully!
I know no one really loves turning the oven on during the summer months. And I get it. But trust me, the end product is worth the effort. And to sweeten the deal, the effort is not a lot at all. The hardest part is whipping up the meringue, and from there, the oven and the stove sort of do all the work for you.
Served chilled, these Very Berry Eton Messes are just the perfect treat to have on a hot summer day. Give this recipe a try, trust me when I say I won’t be going without these Berry Eton Messes in the summers to come! ❤
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