This humble little dessert is my way of getting excited about the long weekend coming up. I love that Australia gets the Queen’s birthday as a holiday, even though England don’t. The best way I could think of to celebrate her birthday long weekend was to make one of the most English desserts I could think of.
It has a special place in my heart because I hadn’t heard of Eton Mess before I lived in England. I was excitedly informed about this delicious dessert, only to find out that it’s pretty much a deconstructed pavlova. That’s not to say I was disappointed though! I was thousands of miles from home and the pub close to where I was staying prided themselves on their Eton Mess – it was like having a little taste of home close by.
I should probably also mention that it’s Baking with Gab’s birthday today. I can’t believe it’s been one year! This is a very understated first birthday, but I don’t mind sharing with the Queen. Even if it’s only her public holiday birthday and not her actual one.
I have an exciting announcement (as a birthday gift to myself), Baking with Gab will have a logo soon, designed by the gorgeous Grace of Grace Taylor Illustrations. Look out for it in the coming weeks!
Every time that I make meringues, I wipe down my whisk attachment and my bowl with half a cut lemon. This gets rid of any fats that are hanging around in the bowl and ensures that your meringues will whip up beautifully. Once you’ve wiped it down with lemon, grab a paper towel and wipe away the lemon.
Whip your sugar and egg whites together. Start on a lower speed (I went for 3 on my stand mixer) and speed it up a notch at a time (up to about 8) over the course of a minute; I find that this method gets the most air into the meringues.
Once the meringue is strong enough to hold peaks, it’s done.
Melt your chocolate in a bowl and fold it into the meringue. You only need to fold it gently about four times, any more than this and you’ll lose the swirly look.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star shaped nozzle. Pipe a spiral and then continue the spiral up another layer to get pointy tip on your meringue. It may take a few practice goes before you get it right. There’s plenty of mixture to make mistake, you should end up with about 50 mini meringues. Pop them into the oven for 60-70 minutes. They should sound hollow when you tap them.
Set them to one side to cool down. (You can make the meringues a day ahead if you want them to be extra crumbly – leaving them overnight allows them to dry out.)
While the meringues are cooling, whip up your cream with the tablespoon of sugar until it’s thick and soft. Your whipped cream is kind of like a pillow for all of the other ingredients in this dessert. Take half of your strawberries and chop them into little cubes. Leave the rest whole.
Grab some ramekins or small bowls and layer your ingredients to your specifications. I went: meringue, cream, strawberry cubes, meringue, whole strawberries. But you can do it in whatever fashion you like – the ingredients are such classic flavours that they taste good no matter what is on your spoon.