So Very English

We decided to immigrate to Australia in a couple of months. We will be leaving Switzerland after being here for just one year. First three years in a new country are the most challenging. If you survive this time you will most likely love and live in your new home-country for many years to come. I know that, I moved countries four times so far. And I knew after only a couple of weeks that Switzerland is not for us but I didn’t know than that we won’t last even the three years.

***

Watching Olympics on BBC all day long. Miss the nice, stylish, classy bit of Britain a lot and so yesterday  I was a woman on a mission and I am very proud of what I’ve achieved. Sunny, cool, understated with that million bucks scruffy look – this dessert is as British as a horse race at Royal Ascot, the 5 o’clock tea at London’s Ritz Hotel or Olympics in London.

Some say it was invented in the 1920s by a Labrador who sat down on someone’s Pavlova cake during a picnic at Eton School.

This beauty has only three ingredients: meringues, strawberries and cream.

I made three lots of meringue, while experimenting with the delicate process of whisking the egg whites to a foam while gently and slowly adding fine sugar to it. The most important lesson: the whisking bowl needs to be absolutely, totally dry! I ruined one of my meringue batches just because I haven’t dried the bowl properly – these egg whites are very delicate creatures, you know.

Meringue:
200g  fine sugar
50g muscovado sugar (for the slight caramel taste)
3 egg whites
1 small teaspoon of white vinegar

200ml double cream (or whip cream)
200 g strawberries

First whisk the egg whites into a firm foam and then start adding sugar slowly -one spoon at a time. Overall you want to spend about five minutes whisking the eggs.
Line the baking tray with some baking paper and place individual blobs of meringue (about 2 table spoons) and leave about 10cm space between your meringue as they will grow quite a bit in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees (no fan option) and bake for an hour. If you have time, then make it two hours by 90C.
Once ready, let it cool down. It doesn’t actually matter how your meringue looks like as you will crash it into pieces soon. As long as it is hard and crunchy your Eton Mess will look and taste great.
For the filling cut strawberries in quarters and mash them up with a fork a bit. Many add icing sugar into the mix but I prefer it tangy.

Now whip the cream. Also here I don’t add any sugar. It makes the cream taste nearly a bit salty. To me the whipped cream is the main part of the dish. It marries the über sweet, crunchy meringue and the tangy, soft strawberry. Without the light and mellow cream this dessert would be way too much in your face, utterly not-British.

The best news is: if you want to try Eaton Mess you don’t have to actually make meringue yourself. You will be absolutely fine using store bought variety. Millions of Britons do it that way, I use store-bought meringue   in the Eton Mess when we have BBQs with a lot of food to prepare – I couldn’t face spending hours preparing just one dish!

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2 thoughts on “So Very English

  1. How very exciting to be moving again. I don’t know anyone in Ausralia, but I follow a blogger in new Zealand, a luscious life. I am sure she has Australian connections & since she’s a scrapper will be friendly & nice.

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