February 12, 2013

In the Kitchen: Eton Mess for Two

A couple of months ago, I made my first Eton Mess. I was inspired by the always lovely and innovate Not without Salt who made it for her Dating My Husband series. So, when it came time to make a dessert for my Christmas dinner date with my fiance, her Eton Mess was what came to mind. Light, fluffy, and with rich differing textures, it was the perfect after christmas dinner treat.

Over the years, Will and I have grown to love cooking together. When we first started dating I was the living in the dorm and Will lived at the fraternity house. So, we were never able to cook. Most of our dates took place at mexican restaurants, usually tagged along by a few friends. It really started my junior year of college when Will returned from Argentina. He brought bake a love for cooking that he has passed along to me. So, for Valentine's Day, we like a make a meal together. He handles the appetizer and main course, and I am in charge of dessert.

I made my original Eton Mess with raspberries, but the ones at the store looked pitiful. I would not normally buy strawberries in February, but these were ripe and full of flavor. Any berry will do when making this, but the strawberries gave it a nice red punch, which ended up being perfect for Valentine's Day.

Eton Mess, serves 2
Adapted from Not without Salt

Vanilla Meringues
4 large egg whites 
1 cup sugar 
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
pinch of salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

In a large glass bowl beat add egg whites and begin to beat with hand mixer on low speed. While the mixer is on low, gradually add the sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract. Make sure to add slowly so egg white do not deflate. Bump speed up to high, and continue to whip until stiff peeks appear. 

Spoon one inch meringues onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 200 degree oven for about an hour, or until meringues are dry. If meringues begin to brown, turn oven off and keep meringues in until the are dry. 

Strawberry Sauce 
1 cup quartered strawberries 
1 tablespoon sugar 

In a medium saucepan combine strawberries and sugar over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until strawberries have softened and released their natural juices. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve or at least 30 minutes. 

Whipped Cream 
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1/4 cup powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

In a large glass bowl beat whipping cream on low speed with a hand mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla extra. As the mixture begins to combine, bump mixer speed up to high and beat until stiff peeks are formed. 

The way the mess is assembled is completely up to you. I begin with a layer of strawberries, then meringues, whipped cream, and dark chocolate shavings. Repeat until glasses are full, and make sure to top with chocolate shavings. 

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