An Eton Mess is everyone’s go-to dessert, especially in summertime. To make it more special (or ‘less-lazy’!), skip on buying store-bought meringues and make your own. All three elements of this picnic dessert should be kept separate and only assembled just before serving. This will prevent the meringues softening in the cream.
For the meringues (makes 40 mini meringues)
110g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp cream of tartar
For the sweet vanilla cream
200g heavy cream
¼ tsp vanilla essence
2 TB icing sugar
reserved sweet whipped cream
16 reserved mini meringues
mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
For the homemade meringues, preheat the oven to 110°C. Whip the egg whites, icing sugar, vanilla essence and cream of tartar to stiff peaks. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe small dollops onto two trays lined with parchment paper. Place the trays into the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 100°C and bake for another 20 minutes. Switch the oven off and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven. Remove and store in an airtight container.
Make the sweet vanilla cream by whipping the cream, vanilla essence and icing sugar to semi-stiff peaks. Cover and set aside until needed.
Use a sharp knife to trim and slice the strawberries. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.
When you are at your picnic destination, combine the sweet whipped cream with the diced strawberries. Arrange the meringues in and around the bowl and garnish with mint leaves.