When I first started looking at Nigella Express to see if there was a recipe I wanted to try to cook during the London Olympics, I decided I was going to make Goujons of Sole...for those Dr. Who fans, that's basically fish fingers, and for those non Dr. Who fans that's fish sticks (of course I was going to cook it without the custard). But I couldn't find any decent, affordable sole at my local markets so I put the cookbook away.
I then focused my attention on looking for a recipe for Eton Mess, a dish that I've run across in many of my cookbooks over the years. The problem was that most of the recipes called for making the meringue by scratch...something I just didn't have the time for during the Olympic festivities.
But then, by chance, I came back to the Nigella Express cookbook and saw that her recipe called for pre-packaged meringue nests. Eureka! Or so I thought until I couldn't find them at any store I frequented. So the cookbook went back on the shelf with a mental note to keep looking for some decent sole to try those fish fingers.
Fast forward to my foray at Cost Plus World Market picking up different British foods to try. Weaving up and down the isles, looking for anything that might be manufactured and eaten in London, low and behold, I came across a package of meringue nests! So back to the house and back to pulling out Nigella Express again. I think this was a sign I really needed to make something from this cookbook.
Eton Mess is really simple to make. It is also really simple to eat. Lots of. I don't know if it's the sweetness of the dish coupled with the nice crunch of the meringue, but we really enjoyed this. And even the next day when the mixture kind of went soft, I found myself stealing spoonfuls out of the container in the fridge.
This photograph doesn't do the dessert justice (my kingdom for some natural light in the house and instructions on how to use my new camera). I tried to layer the Eton Mess in a tall skinny glass and I wasn't very successful. I did take some to my Mom where I layered it in a small plastic drinking cup and it looked much better. Visions of a picnic or BBQ where I serve this in those plastic cups ran through my head.
4 cups strawberries
2 teaspoons vanilla or granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
2 cups whipping cream
4 small packaged meringue nests
Hull and chop the strawberries. Put into a bowl, add the sugar and pomegranate juice, and leave to macerate while you whip the cream.
Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly crumble in 4 of the meringue nests - you will need chunks for texture as well as a little fine dust.
Take out about half a cupful of the chopped strawberries, and fold the meringued cream and the rest of the fruit mixture together.
Arrange on 4 serving plates or glasses or in a mound, and top each one with some of the remaining macerated strawberries. Serves 4
NOTE: I used superfine sugar as it was mentioned in another Eton Mess recipe that the superfine would incorporate into the mixture better. I always have some superfine sugar on hand anyway to make simple syrups for drinks.
NOTE: This recipe is similar to many except for the pomegranate juice and the fact that it uses pre-made meringue. If you were to leave out the pomegranate juice and maybe add a bit more sugar, I don't think it would matter much.
I think this is one of those great little dessert recipes to have in your repertoire...tastes good and is simple to put together for a quick dessert after dinner. Will make this again. Will make a double batch and keep one just for me...