Sometimes, just sometimes, the food blog world stars align and you find you have already made and photographed the perfect dish for a blogging challenge. I felt that way when I read Arthi’s post over at Soul Curry, announcing the latest Forever Nigella challenge: Iced Dreams. This month, the challenge was to make iced/cold/frozen desserts and puddings and just before I left for France I happened to have a LOT of failed cocoa-nib macarons that tasted too good to throw out and that I had already decided to use up in a dessert to take to our friend Alicia’s house for dinner in an Eton Mess. Nigella’s…
Now there were a LOT of Eton Messes in the Forever Nigella Royal Street Party that I hosted and I remember at the time that I thought “I should make an Eton Mess soon” – such an easy dish with so few ingredients that I generally have on hand (yes, I generally have failed macarons on hand!) and when I tasted it, I decided that it would NOT be years before I make my next Mess!
According to Wikipedia, Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, crumbled meringue and whipped cream, and is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against the students of Winchester College. The dish has been known by this name since the 19th century and although an Eton mess can be made with many other types of summer fruit, strawberries are regarded as more traditional. The word mess may refer to the appearance of the dish, or may be used in the sense of “a quantity of food”, particularly “a prepared dish of soft food” or “a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together.
Information Britain suggests that Eton Mess is a “delicious mixture of strawberries, meringue and cream was traditionally served at Eton College at the annual prize giving ceremony on the fourth of June (Confusingly actually held on the last Wednesday in May). An apocryphal story has it that the first “mess” was caused by an excitable Labrador, sitting on a picnic basket on the way to the event. The school’s historical anecdotes say that a mixture, using either strawberries or bananas, was certainly served in the school’s tuck shop, during the 1930’s. The term “mess” may refer to the appearance of the dish. (Some say that “mess” refers to any type of soft food mixed together). Whatever the case, this light, sweet, treat is a prize winning dish at any event.”
Me? I prefer the story of the excitable Labrador… Am actually laughing out loud at that!
Nigella has a recipe but it’s hardly necessary. But for those of you new to the “Mess”, here you go…
4 cups mixed berries ( raspberries and strawberries), saving about 4 tablespoonful for serving
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons pomegranate liqueur, like Pama (or you can just use a little water)
2 cups whipping cream
4 big handful of failed macarons, crumbled,
Hull and chop the strawberries, put into a bowl with the raspberries, add the sugar and pomegranate liqueur and leave to macerate while you whip the cream. I left mine in the fridge for about 4 hours and it was fine.
Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly crumble in about half of the macarons – you’ll need chunks as well as fine dust.
Dollop about 1/2 cup of the cream into each serving dish. Add about 3/4 of the berries, top with remaining cream and berries. Crumble the remaining macarons on top. Serve. Enjoy.
As many of you know, I am currently in Paris. I have a few posts lined up for the next couple of busy weeks (work and a conference) and will eventually get around to blogging about some of the fun culinary adventures I will be experiencing here. In the meantime, though, you can keep up with me through my Summer 2011 Flickr set. I will be updating this with day to day pictures (read: not all food photos!) fairly regularly so if you are so inclined, feel free to check that out!