Eton Mess is traditionally a summer desert but you can alter your recipe to use the fruits that are available any time of the year or any season.
- Preheat oven to 150ºC (300ºF), and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
For the Meringues
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl using electric beaters or a hand whisk until they form soft peaks. They are whisked enough when you can turn the bowl upside down without them sliding out.
- Next, add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each tablespoon until it is all incorporated. The meringue mix should look really thick and glossy.
- Drop 12 large spoonfuls of the meringue on to the baking sheet, spacing well apart. Place in the oven, reduce the temperature to 130ºC (250ºF) and bake for 1_ hours until the meringues are crisp.
- Turn off the oven and leave them to cool with the door shut.
- For the Blackberry purée: Place 200g of blackberries in a small pan with the caster sugar, lemon juice and cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for about 10 minutes until they are very soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and purée using a stick blender until smooth. Leave to cool.
To assemble the Eton Mess
- Very softly whip the cream until it is just holding its own.
- Roughly break up six meringues into a large bowl; avoid the temptation of crushing them too hard or too much. Keep the pieces quite large, not dusty or small.
- Add the cream and blackberries.
- Fold loosely together using a large spoon, then finish by adding the blackberry sauce over the top.
- Serve in a bowl for people to help themselves – or as individual servings in stemless wine glasses or parfait cups.
To save time you can substitute store-bought meringues and crumble them up for the recipe.