Andrew has already covered the history of Eton mess as a British summer dish invented at the famous Eton College. The interesting thing about Eton mess it that it is never named as such within the walls of Eton. When Caroline Waldegrave published the Eton Cook Book, she included the eponymous dessert, but named it ‘strawberry mess.’ There was also a banana mess in there. So, when Simon Rimmer comes up with the notion of ‘banana Eton mess,’ he is only doing so to improve the understanding of those who neither have a million dollar trust fund nor own Cheshire.
The truth, therefore, is the a ‘mess’ can be made with any sufficiently sweet fruit. We had some mangoes lying about, so here is mango mess.
- For the meringues:
- 3 egg whites
- 175g caster sugar
- For the coulis:
- 1 handful of chopped mango
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- To finish:
- 3 more handfuls of chopped mango
- 150ml double cream
- A few sprigs of fresh basil or mint if liked
To make the meringues:
Heat an oven to 150˚C.
Start by making the meringues. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar while mixing and whisk to soft peaks again. Spoon equal, tablespoon-sized blobs onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. reduce to oven to 140˚C and bake the meringues for 1 hour. Switch off the oven and allow to cool.
To make the coulis
Add the handful of chopped mango to a blender with the icing sugar. Blitz until puréed.
Whisk the double cream into soft peaks.
To assemble the dish, combine the cream with the broken meringues, and gently fold in the coulis to create a marbled effect. Portion the mixture into bowls, glasses or jars and add the chopped mangoes. Pour over any remaining coulis as a garnish. Add a sprig of basil (or mint) for summer colour.
You can make more meringues than you need. Bag them and store them in a cool, dry place to enable rapid, al-minute Eton mess manufacture.