Vanessa’s Eton Mess

March 15, 2011

A variation on an English summer classic…

4 egg whites (at room temperature)
pinch of salt
240g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

450ml milk
150ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lenghways
120g caster sugar
6 egg yolks

250g raspberries

for the meringues –
Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and add the salt. Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites slowly at irst until they break down and brigin to froth. Increase the spped and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, beating all the while. Finally beat in the vanilla. The mixture should be stiff and glossy. Place generous spoonfuls on the baking tray, spacing apart to allow room for them to expand. Place in the oven and immediately turn the setting down to 120C. Cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the meringues to cool completely in the oven before removing. Store in an airtight container lined with greaseproof paper for up to 3 days.

for the creme anglaise –
Put the milk and cream in a heavy-based saucepan with the vanilla pod and place over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then imediately remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl for a minute or two until the mixture is slightly paler in colour. Return the cream to a low heat and warm through. When it is just hot, pour on to the yolk mixture, stirring with a whisk as you do so.

Pour the custard ba into the pan and place back on the lowest possible heat. Using a wooden spoon and using a figure-of-eight motion, stir continuously until the custard thickens enough to cling to the back of the spoon. This  may take as long as 10 minutes. When you have the correct consistency, remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve into a cold bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge to chill thoroughly.

When ready, pour the custard into serving glasses, add the raspberries and then crumble the meringues over the top.

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