Tropicana Eton Mess

My daughter has raved about a pavlova she made a year ago with a rich mango and passionfruit curd topping. She acquired the recipe for the Mango and Passionfruit curd from Lorraine Elliott’s Not Quite Nigella. Lorraine makes pavlovas, all towers of gooey loveliness and there are at least 6 fabulous versions to consider. I often prefer to make mini pavlovas or meringues so that I can string out the exquisite curd a little longer. As the mango season is at its height ( but not for long) I decided it was time to give her recipe a try. It is also a very fitting dessert for Australia Day on January 26th.

Daisy samples the Eton Mess with Mango and Passionfruit curd
Daisy samples the Eton Mess with Mango and Passionfruit curd

Little Daisy, the cheffa, was my main tester. Daisy likes to watch cooking videos to improve her cooking skills and always helps in the kitchen, with her own stool and special knife. She is genuinely my best kitchen hand, her enthusiasm spurs me on.

Little crispy meringues with gooey centres

 Little meringues are easy to whip up and store well in a tin- ready for any young customer with an appetite. They can be served as individual greedy sized desserts, or smashed up and made into an Eton Mess.

The OTT Tropicana Mess
The OTT Tropicana Mess

The small meringue recipe

  • four egg whites
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Preheat oven to 150ºC. Line two small baking trays with baking paper. Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then add the sugar gradually and beat until they turn glossy. Remove bowl from stand and stir through the cornflour and vinegar.
  • Use a piping bag to make 6 rounds of meringue with slightly walled sides, or make freeform shapes, as pictured above, if you intend to smash them up for Eton Mess. Leave at least 3 cm between each meringue to allow for spreading.
  • Reduce the oven to 120ºC and bake for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow them to cool completely. Store in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks.
Eton Mess, smashed merigue, cream and mango and passionfruit curd
Eton Mess, smashed meringue, cream, mango and passionfruit curd

Lorraine Elliott’s Mango and Passionfruit Curd

Makes about 3 cups of curd

  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 125g butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup passionfruit pulp (about 5 passionfruit)
  • ½ cup mango pulp, processed (about 1 large mango)

  •  Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat (4 out of 10 where 10 is the hottest temperature). Place the yolks and sugar and stir until combined. Add the cubes of butter and allow to melt. Stir just stir enough so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

  •  Add the passionfruit and mango pulp to the pan and allow to thicken stirring occasionally. It will take about 10-15 minutes to thicken and will thicken further upon cooling. Store in sterilised jars.

To Assemble the Desserts

Use parfait glasses or bowls. Roughly smash the meringue and layer with cream, the curd, fresh passionfruit, and repeat, topped with fresh mint leaves.

Other components are whipped cream, more passionfruit, sliced mango, and other tropical fruits in season. Daisy said no to banana so take heed of her advice.

Daisy and her mother share another!

I sent all the components home with five-year old Daisy: the meringues, the whipped cream and the curd so she can practice her assembling to impress her father and sisters.

Daisy's version, made when she went home. Pic taken on her mother's phone.
Daisy’s version, made when she went home. Pic taken on her mother’s phone.

Footnote: Today Lorraine has written up this sweet curd again- check her updated recipe here too.

Cinnamon Meringue with Caramel Apples

This easy meringue dessert makes an impressive Christmas lunch finale, combining the spices associated with Christmas with hints of fruit mince-pie in the sauce. The individual meringues may be made a week before and the sauce made early on the day, then assembled at serving time.

Cinnamon Meringue with Caramel apples
Cinnamon Meringue with Caramel apples

The Meringues

4 egg whites

225g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp white vinegar

4 tsp ground cinnamon

300 ml thick cream

2 Tbs icing sugar, sifted

The Caramel Apples

4 granny smith apples

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs (40g) unsalted butter

2 Tbs honey

250g fruit mince

2-3 Tbs brandy

Preheat the oven to 120c. Line a baking tray with baking paper. whisk egg whites until stiff. Gradually add caster sugar until the mixture is glossy. Add the cornflour, vanilla, vinegar and cinnamon and whisk until combined. Draw eight 8 cm circles on the baking paper and pile the mixture into each circle, smoothing the sides. Make an indent in the top of each one and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven to dry out.

To make the caramel apple topping, core the apples and cut into six wedges then toss them in the lemon juice. Melt the butter and honey in a pan over low heat. Add apples and cook, stirring, until the apples caramelise. Add the fruit mince and brandy and cook until heated through. Whip cream and icing sugar together until thick, pile into the meringues, top with apples and sauce.

Easy Christmas dessert
Easy Christmas dessert

 

From Delicious, Lets Do Lunch, p 64. 2003

In My Kitchen, December 2014

The last few weeks have been rather hectic in my kitchen. I’m taking it easy in December, especially now that I know my niece will host Christmas Day Lunch. Hooray, I’m off the hook. Now I can safely sneak away to my favourite beach and pretend that the festive season is not happening.

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I am picking around 500 grams of berries every day. Raspberries, boysenberries, youngberries and strawberries are having a wonderful season. It’s time to think about using some in an alcoholic concoction.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have consumed many berries with small meringue nests which I store away in tins for a week or so. These meringues had the addition of finely zested lemon peel. Limoncello cream filled the cavities, then raspberries. We also had cinnamon meringue with cherry.

Dolmades rolled and laid snugly in a pot.
Dolmades rolled and laid snugly in a pot.

One of the big sultana vines lost a branch when Mt Tranquillo was pruning.  I wasn’t going to waste these lovely fresh vine leaves.  A big batch of dolmades lasted only one week in my kitchen.

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My daughter- in- law has done some ironing for me. It is so nice when all the tablecloths are ready for the season ahead. This is the blue and white stash. Yes, slightly anal, I know.

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I found this old gelataio in an Op shop (thrift shop) in 2009. It was only $15.00 and had just been serviced. It’s little churning wings broke the other day as I was making some berry ice cream. It has served me very well so I might ask Santa for a new one, unless a spare part turns up soon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beautiful blue plates, a set of 12, seem to be unused and cost $3.00 in total. They were made by Johnson in Australia in the 1950s. Another lucky find in the second hand world of Melbourne. Perfect for a morning tea of mini muffins with white chocolate, amond meal and fresh raspberry.

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Why does everyone always crowd around in the kitchen? Here are a couple of party animals, a reminder to always have fun in the kitchen. Put your finger in the cream, steal a morsel off that platter, help roll out the pizza dough or dance like a crazy spider.

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Thankyou Celia, at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, for a wonderful year of IMK.

                                     Season’s Greetings to Celia and to you all. 

 

 

 

Easy Cinnamon Meringue with Cherries


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s cherry season here. As tempting as it is to eat them straight from the bag or dangle attached pairs from my ears, I like to save some for a few desserts. The following recipe for Cinnamon Meringue is a handy one for the looming silly season. These can be made ahead and stashed in an airtight box for a week. When you need a dessert, simply whip some cream and poach some seasonal fruit. The cinnamon adds another dimension to the meringue taste.

The Recipe

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300 ml cream ( 35 %)
  • Cherries
  • sugar

Preheat the oven to 120c. Line the baking trays with baking paper. Whisk egg-white until stiff. Gradually add caster sugar until mixture is glossy. ( do this slowly in stages). Add the cornflour, vanilla, vinegar and cinnamon and whisk until combined.

Draw 8 cm circles on the baking paper: turn the paper over so that you can still see the circles) and pile the meringue into each circle, smoothing the sides. Make an indent in the top and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove when cool and store in an airtight tin or plastic clip box.

Gently poach the cherries in a little water with strewn sugar to taste. This should only take around 5 minutes. Add alcohol, such as Kirsch or amaretto, if you like. Whip the cream.

Serve the individual meringues topped with cream and cherries with some of the poaching liquid, and serve an extra bowl of cherries on the side.

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I also made these little meringues with a Christmas topping of caramel apples, fruit mince and brandy. It was so rich! Below is a peak of that version.  The recipe is adapted from ABC Delicious, Let’s Do Lunch, 2003

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