|No bake, easy, delicious and gluten-free.|
When I was little I was fascinated by meringue. My mum used to make lots of meringue-based desserts and I was always on call to lick the whisk (we simply did not worry about salmonella in Greece). I loved that simply mixing just two ingredients resulted in something so delicious and remember trying to make meringue myself at a fairly tender age.
I still love meringue based desserts and none more so than the fabulously named Eton Mess. It has got to be one of my favourite summer treats – it’s so easy to make, so light and delicious it would be a crime to confine it to summer. This Christmas Mess is suitably festive and can still be thrown together in under 10 minutes if you use store-bought ingredients. As you can see I decided to make it from scratch – what can I say, I had leftover egg whites begging to be used.
I folded in some 0% fat Greek yoghurt along with the whipped cream to make the Mess even lighter – healthier!- than usual. The slightly tangy taste goes really well with the tart sweetness of the cranberries. If you wanted to make this even fancier (but then no longer a Mess I guess) you can layer the meringue kisses and pipe the whipped cream in the bowls.
For the meringue
Makes 35-40 mini kisses
150g egg whites (5 medium eggs)
300g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped
Food colouring, clean paintbrush (optional)
1. Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with baking paper and preheat the oven to 100C | 215 F.
2. Put your egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer – make sure the bowl is spotlessly clean.
3. Start whisking the egg whites slowly at first and then at high speed until you have stiff peaks.
4. Start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time while whisking at high speed. Whisk well with each addition until all sugar is added.
5. Continue to whisk for 4-5 minutes until the meringue is stiff, smooth and glossy. Test the sugar in dissolved by rubbing a little meringue between your fingers – there should be no grittiness.
6. Fold in the scraped vanilla seeds and fill a large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. To create the colour stripes, paint thick stripes of food colouring on the inside of the pipping bag prior to filling it.
7. Pipe small ‘kisses’ spaced slightly apart on the prepared baking tins.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes for little meringues – until they lift easily from the baking paper. If they are still sticky continue to bake until they are completely dry.
9. Cool and keep in an airtight container.
For the cranberry sauce
250g | 8.8 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
Juice and zest of two oranges
150ml | 5.5 fl oz ruby port
100g caster sugar | 3.7 oz (or more if you prefer it sweet)
1. Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Cool the sauce before using. Will keep, covered, for at least a week in the fridge.
For the Eton Mess
Makes 4 small ones or 2 large ones
1 large carton cold whipping cream – 300ml | 10.5 oz
150g Total 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt
3-4 tbsp cranberry sauce
About 3 meringue nests, crushed or as many of the meringue kisses as you like
1. Whip the cream until you have firm peaks – be careful not to over whip.
2. Fold in the yoghurt and crushed meringues (alternatively use the meringue kisses whole – put a layer on the bottom of your serving dish, add a layer of cream then another layer of kisses etc.)
3. Ripple the cranberry sauce through the cream mixture.
4. Top with a few meringue kisses or pipe some whipped cream to finish off the dessert.