Serves 6; 2h
A celebration of the summer soft fruit season. The currants get very lightly cooked to soften them, liberate the juices and add a welcome tartness. This is easily made into an Eton mess by breaking the meringue into the bowl with the fruit and folding the cream in, too. The meringue should be crisp on the outside and slightly fudgy and chewy in the middle. You can make the meringue ahead of time if you like; it will store for a couple of days if kept in an airtight container.
- 4 eggs whites
- 220g unrefined caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the currants
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 125g blackcurrants or redcurrants
- 50ml Grand Marnier or Cassis liqueur – optional
- 200g strawberries
- 4 flat peaches
- 125g raspberries
- 250ml double cream
- Seeds from ½ a fresh vanilla pod
Prep time: 30 min Cooking time: 1h 30 min
Preheat your oven to 120°C/Gas ½.
With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until just stiff. Keep the motor running and gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition until it is smooth and glossy. Whisk in the lemon juice and cornflour at the end.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Shape the meringue into a large, deep circle about 25cm in diameter.
Place in the oven and leave for 1½ hours, until the meringue is firm to the touch. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely in the oven.
Meanwhile, remove the stalks from black/redcurrants. Place them in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Gently heat for 3-4 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved, and the fruit has begun to soften and burst. Remove from the heat and stir in the booze if using. Leave to cool.
When the meringue is cool, remove and discard the stalks from the strawberries, and roughly slice them. De-stone and roughly dice the peaches. Mix the strawberries, peaches and raspberries together in a large bowl with the cooked currants.
Place the cream in a clean bowl with the vanilla seeds. Whisk it until it just forms pillowy, soft peaks and holds its shape.
Place the meringue on a large plate. Spoon the cream on top and then pile on the fruit, artfully spooning any remaining boozy liquid across the top.
Recipe courtesy of Riverford Organic. To find out more about their organic box schemes visit the website - www.riverford.co.uk