Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Fashioned Favourite - Eton Mess and Trifle

My lovely friend Skye gave me some of the berries she picked at the local berry farm - delicious raspberries and strawberries that were perfectly ripe. These were sitting in the fridge with several egg whites left from another recipe, so I was inspired to make Eton Mess which I have always wanted to try - I don't know what took me so long! A fantastic combination of whipped cream, berries and meringue, the adults and children were fighting over the last serve. I looked at lots of recipes but based it on one from that used a combination of cream and yoghurt. The yoghurt gave it a nice tang and made it feel not so decadent!
Following this I decided to give trifle a go, another classic I have never tried. There are a lot of varieties out there, from the basic with packet jelly, tinned fruit and packet custard to gourmet versions with marscapone and lemon curd that are verging on a tiramisu. I decided on berry trifle, with sponge finger biscuits (savoiardi) for the base. I wanted to make my own jelly but didn't have any suitable juice on hand to make it with, so used packet raspberry jelly with real raspberries in it - this really ruined it for me, but everyone still managed to finish a bowl full! The recipe below includes a jelly recipe that I will use next time, or if I couldn't make jelly I would just use a layer of sweetened raspberries. I finished the trifle with strawberries and crushed meringues (sounding familiar?) which gave it a nice texture. Here are a few other trifle recipes that inspired mine or that I would like to try:
Middle Eastern Trifle @ SBS Food, pictured in the latest Feast Magazine
Limoncello Trifle @ - with blueberries, lemon curd and marscapone

Eton Mess
The original recipe suggested cooking the raspberries and sugar and then pureeing and folding through the mess. I didn't want to do this to my beautiful fresh raspberries but might try it next time with frozen. I have no idea how many berries I used so just add to taste or what you have.
serves 6
1/4 C caster sugar
450g strawberries, hulled, quartered
225g  raspberries, fresh or frozen
300ml thick cream, whipped
300ml thick Greek yoghurt
4 large meringues, crumbled - see recipe below

Slice strawberries and place in a bowl with sugar for several hours.
Place strawberries and half the raspberries in a bowl with the puree, cream, yoghurt and the meringue. Fold everything together until just combined. Serve in a large glass bowl or individual glasses. Sprinkle with remaining raspberries.

This makes 6 very large meringues, good for breaking up into the eton mess, or many more small ones.
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 C caster sugar
Preheat oven to 120 C.
In an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk for a few minutes more. Add the remaining sugar and fold through.
Spoon or pipe onto trays. Bake for 1 hour. Then leave in oven, switched off, for 30 minutes.

Berry Trifle
serves 6-8
~10 sponge finger biscuits
100ml Cointreau, grappa, sweet white wine, limoncello or any other sweet alcohol that takes your fancy (optional)
3 tbsp berry jam
1 punnet or 200g frozen raspberries
300ml cream, whipped
3 large meringues, broken into pieces (recipe above)
125 g berries
3 egg yolks
3 tsp corn flour (some recipes use plain flour)
caster sugar
300ml milk or cream
500ml juice of your choice
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp powdered gelatine
1 punnet or 200g frozen raspberries
Warm the jam and thin with a little water or your alcohol of choice if too thick. Dip the biscuits in the  jam and line the bottom of your glass bowl. Drizzle over the alcohol if using and remaining jam.
Pour over the cooled custard, refrigerate. Follow with the cooled jelly, you can even set the jelly in another bowl and break it up a little to spoon over.
Top with whipped cream, meringue pieces and berries.
Whisk together the yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl.
Heat the cream/milk until nearly boiling. Pour over the yolks whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Place 250ml juice and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Sprinkle over gelatine and stir to dissolve, strain mixture into a bowl. Add remaining 250ml juice, then the berries, stirring until combined. Refridgerate til set.

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