Australia, Australians, Cheat, Coconut Cream, Cream, Cream of Tartar, Dessert, England, Eton College, Eton Mess, Heavy Cream, Indulgence, Meringue, New Zealand, Organic, Pastured, Pavlova, Primal, Raspberry, Raw Cream, Raw Honey, Rosewater, Strawberry, Water
Confession time! I may have indulged
just a little a lot over the weekend. Remember how I wrote this post and wrote about how Pavlova is one of the traditional desserts that is served on Australia Day, well after that I had a MASSIVE craving for it! So of course I decided to make a Pavlova except well it didn’t quiet turn out that way…
First of all if you don’t know what a Pavlova is it’s a meringue based dessert, with whipped cream on top and fruit added to the cream. Mostly people use different kinds of berries, but other fruits like kiwi and passion fruit are also used. The actual dish originated in New Zealand and was named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova but Australians have adopted it as one of their own, much like they did with Russel Crowe ;)
Now if you’ve ever made a meringue you know how temperamental they can be! The conditions for making a meringue have to be just right otherwise…. well then you end up like me having to re work your dessert!
I’m not sure what happened to my meringue but it didn’t come out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I’m not sure if it was my oven, the weather or if I didn’t beat my egg whites for long enough.
I mean it wasn’t too bad and it was still edible so I made an executive decision and decided to make Eton Mess with a bit of a twist instead of Pavlova. Which is actually a fitting dessert considering we’re moving to England soon!
Haven’t heard of Eton Mess? Well it originated at Eton College around the 1930s, some say the name is said to have originated from the boys at the school playing around with the food in the school and ending up mixing three different ingredients whipped cream, fruit (mainly strawberries) and meringues. The ‘mess’ part comes from the fact that they probably just thew all of these together and it
looked looks well rather messy! Other reports suggest that a labrador sat on a Pavlova at one of their Cricket games and created a big mess but the boys ate their dessert anyway.
So that’s what I did (no I didn’t sit on a Pavlova) I took my meringue, broke it up into pieces, whipped up some heavy cream, added in some strawberries and raspberries and topped it off with some 85% dark chocolate shavings… as you’ll see when you get to the recipe.
Before I go on… I just want to make a note about the use of cream here. As you know most of my recipes are Paleo based and since cream is a dairy product I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to use it here or instead use a substitute like coconut cream (the thick part of the coconut milk that sits on top of the watery part of the milk in the cans, which you can whip like cream). I honestly can’t do much of either but in this case since this was my indulgence or cheat if you will and I decided to go with organic pastured heavy cream. Note that fresh raw cream would be ideal here so if you can get your hands on some then I recommend using that (from a reliable source of course).
In any case this dessert just like the other sweet stuff I post should be considered treats… that is they should be eaten OCCASIONALLY (she says to herself).
Rose Water Eton Mess
The meringue recipe here is based on this one with a few modifications.
- 150ml/5oz egg whites (or 4 eggs).
- 1/2 cup raw honey.
- Pinch of cream of tartar.
- 1 tsp ice cold water.
- 1 cup heavy cream or one can of full fat chilled coconut cream.
- Fresh raspberries and strawberries. Make sure to save some strawberries or raspberries for garnish.*
- Dark chocolate. I used 85%…. you don’t need much just enough to grate on top.
- 1 tsp rose water (optional). This is the twist on the Eton mess by the way.
* I didn’t specifically measure these ingredients out since they’re just going to be mainly mixed into the cream later.
First up make sure your eggs are at room temperature! Cold egg whites will not whip as well as room temperature eggs, if you are stuck for time then place your eggs into a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes to bring them to room temperature. Make sure the egg whites are free of any pieces of shell or yolk… they won’t whip up nicely if either of these things are mixed in as well.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 150C/300F.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat.
Bring around 5cm/2inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
In a heatproof mixing bowl (make sure the bowl is clean and has no oil or other type of fat on it) add your egg whites and honey. Place the bowl on top of the simmering water making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water below.
Using a wire whisk, whisk the egg whites and honey for a about 5 minutes or until the mixture is warm to the touch and the honey is nicely incorporated.
Remove from the heat then either using an electric hand mixer or transferring to a stand mixer, straight away start beating your egg whites.
Add in a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to beat the egg white mixture. Then add in your ice water and continue to beat until your egg white mixture becomes stiff and glossy (you’ll see the mixture almost tripling in size) and if you lift the beaters up the egg whites should stand up.
Using a spatula drop the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, and shape into an even circle as best as you can.
Place in the oven and immediately drop the oven temperature to 120C/250F.
Bake for 1hr 20 minutes. After that time is up turn off the oven and LEAVE the meringue to cool in the oven with the oven door CLOSED. RESIST the urge to open the oven door to check on the meringue… if you do the meringue will crack.
Allow the meringue to cool in the oven for a couple of hours… best bet is probably to do this at night and leave the meringue in there over night. This will also mean that you won’t be doing any cooking while the meringue is cooling in the oven as the heat from cooking while the meringue is resting can affect how it will turn out. Also avoid making them on a humid day.
Once the meringue is ready, remove it from the oven.
Pour cream (which ever one you’re using) into a mixing bowl and if using add in a teaspoon of rose water. Whip until you get soft peaks.
Now let’s say your meringue comes out perfectly. That is crisp on other outside and soft on the inside then you can go ahead and make a Pavlova instead of Eton Mess if you want.
To assemble the Pavlova place the meringue onto a serving plate or a cake stand then add the whipped cream on top. Garnish with the strawberries and raspberries and grate with some dark chocolate on top.
If like me your meringue doesn’t turn out as you wanted then break it up into pieces. Add the crumbled meringue into the whipped cream and add in your strawberries and raspberries except for a one or two for garnish.
Mixing gently together then spoon into serving bowls, or like me into small glasses.
Garnish with a strawberry or some raspberries on top and grate some dark chocolate over.
Either way whatever dessert you choose to make they both taste GREAT (well I can vouch for the Eton Mess version!) and are definitely worth the indulgence ;)
Tell me have you ever had to re work a dessert and if so what happened and how did you save the day?