A modern spin on the classic Eton Mess, every mouthful of this crushed meringue dessert is a pillowy cloud of deliciousness. The flavours have wonderfully romantic elements to them – it’s a beautiful sweet to share with loved ones (or the one you love) this Valentine’s Day.
Crushed meringue with summer berries, vanilla whipped cream, rose-elderflower syrup and pistachio
- 3 jumbo egg whites
- 180g castor sugar
- pinch salt
- 2,5ml (½ tsp) vanilla essence
- 500ml (2 cups) rosé wine
- 100g castor sugar
- pinch salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 125ml (½ cup) elderflower cordial (available at speciality food stores and yuppiechef.com)
- 2 cups (500ml) fresh cream
- 60ml (4 tbsp) icing sugar, sieved
- 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
- fresh summer berries
- pomegranate rubies
- pistachio nuts, slivered
Preheat the oven to 110°C. Line a large baking sheet with foil, greasing the baking sheet with a little butter to stick the foil down.
For the meringue, place the egg whites in a super-clean, dry bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk until soft peaks form, then add the 180g castor sugar, a tablespoonful at a time (only add the next tablespoon once the previous one has been fully combined), while the mixer is running on high speed. Once all of the castor sugar has been incorporated, add the remaining meringue ingredients and beat on high speed, 3 minutes.
Using a dessertspoon, add dollops of the meringue, in neat rows, to the prepared baking sheet to make individual meringues (you should have at least 12 meringues in total, and there may be one or two extra, depending on the size of your dollops). For a rustic, home-made appearance, the meringues look lovely if they aren’t all identical, so don’t be too precise with your dollops.
Bake the meringues in the preheated oven, 45 minutes. The meringues are ready when they peel away easily from the foil, but are soft in the centre. Remove from oven and allow to cool, at least 40 minutes.
While the meringues are baking, prepare your syrup by adding all of the ingredients to a medium pot and simmer, 30 – 40 minutes or until the mixture has thickened (it will thicken to a syrup as it cools). Remove from heat and allow to cool, about 1 hour.
Just before serving, add all of the cream ingredients to a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
To serve, either place the dessert on a large platter for people to dish up for themselves or plate individually in dessert glasses or bowls. For a large platter, break and crush the meringues slightly, leaving larger and smaller bits. Add some to the platter, then add dollops of the whipped cream and more meringue pieces. Scatter over the fresh berries, pomegranate rubies and pistachio nuts and drizzle with the syrup. For individual servings, do the same as for the large platter, but use 2 meringues per serving. Serve any leftover syrup alongside for guests to add to their hearts’ desire.