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Meringue Kisses and Eton Mess

After making a truly heavenly Coconut Cream Pie this weekend I was left with 5 egg whites to use up. I have lots of desserts I could use egg whites in, but after making two bigger desserts this weekend, I wanted something a bit more simple. We still have lots of strawberries, having picked up another flat from a local farm over the weekend, so I thought something fresh tasting and easy that uses strawberries would be perfect. I’ve already made Pavlova recently so I wanted something different. I googled strawberries and meringue and came up with Eton Mess.

Unless you’re British, you may not have heard of this dessert. I certainly hadn’t heard of it until I started watching the Great British Bake Off and I’ve definitely never tried it. Eton mess is a simple dessert made of crushed meringue cookies, whipped cream and strawberries. It reminds me of the raspberry fool my mom used to make when her garden raspberries were ripe. Perfect for summer when you want a sweet treat but don’t want to use the oven.

You can easily make Eton Mess with store-bought meringues but I had egg whites to use up so I made my own so today you get a two for one recipe! Meringue kisses are so easy to make! The total active time is about 10 minutes. You do need a piping back and piping tip to make them look nice but I have made them free-hand with great success before as well. They keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container so you can cook them on a cooler day and keep them around to eat or use in other desserts at your leisure.

For the Eton Mess, I macerated the strawberries in some sugar and a bit of balsamic vinegar. If you haven’t tried adding balsamic to your strawberries before, I highly recommend it! It seems to bring even more strawberry flavour to the berries. After macerating them for an hour, I decided to boil down the liquid a bit to make more of a syrup, as I did in my Strawberry Cream Cake. You can skip this step, but again, this adds more flavour. I liked the whipped cream that with a touch of rum that I used in my Coconut Cream Pie so I decided to add some rum to this cream as well. I looked at a bunch of pictures online of the dessert. Some people layered the dessert like a trifle and some just folded everything together. I decided to layer mine because I thought it looked so pretty served in a glass dish.

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[recipe title=”Meringue Kisses” servings=”50 cookies” cooktime=”1 hour” difficulty=”easy” description=”These meringue cookies take minutes to prepare. They will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.”]
[recipe-ingredients]
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
– 5 egg whites
– 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
– 1/8 tsp salt
[/recipe-ingredients][recipe-directions]
1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Line 2 baking sheets with either parchment paper or a Silicone Baking Mat
2. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
3. In the bowl of a Stand Mixer with whisk attachment, beat together egg whites, vanilla and salt on high speed until soft peaks form, 30 – 45 seconds.
4. Reduce speed to medium and slowly add the sugar mixture.
5. Stop the mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Then beat again on high speed until you have stiff, glossy peaks, about 30 – 45 seconds.
6. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip and pipe meringues onto your baking sheets in approximate 1 1/4-inch by 1 inch high kisses.
7. Bake for 1 hour, rotating your trays halfway through for even browning.
8. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven without opening the door for 1 hour. This will help them dry out and avoid cracking.
9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
[/recipe-directions][/recipe]

[recipe title=”Eton Mess” servings=”4″ cooktime=”1.5 hours including macerating the strawberries” difficulty=”easy” description=”Eton Mess is a fresh and simple celebration of in season strawberries, meringue and whipped cream. You can either fold all the ingredients together for a more casual dessert or layer them in individual glass dishes to dress it up. “]
[recipe-ingredients]
– 2 cups strawberries, sliced
– 2 tbsp granulated sugar
– 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 tbsp orange liqueur
– 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
– 1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp dark rum (optional)
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 12 meringue cookies, roughly chopped
– halved strawberries for decoration
– grated semi-sweet or dark chocolate, optional
[/recipe-ingredients][recipe-directions]
1. Stir together sliced strawberries, granulated sugar and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
2. Drain liquid from berries into a small saucepan and add orange liqueur. Boil over medium heat until you have a thick syrup.
3. Combine berries and syrup in a bowl and chill until ready to use.
4. Shortly before serving, whip together heavy cream, powdered sugar, rum and vanilla to still peaks.
4. There are two serving options: For a casual dessert, simply fold together the macerated berries, whipped cream and chopped meringue cookies and spoon into serving dishes, Then top with halved strawberries. For a more elegant dessert, layer the strawberries, then cream, then chopped cookies in 2 layers. Top with halved strawberries and then grate some chocolate over the top, if desired.
[/recipe-directions][/recipe]

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