At summer time, it’s dangerously easy to fall into the trap of eating fruit for pudding. Those punnets of burstingly fresh, sweet strawberries glisten temptingly at you from market stalls; tempting you to abandon your principles and launch into fruit salads. Be careful, dear reader, remember that fruit is only a pudding when cream, chocolate or alcohol is added.
Or in this case, some rather fetching (even if we do say so ourselves) meringues, a grown-up dash of our favourite Summer Cup from Sipsmith (like Pimm’s, but more refined) and a splodge of decadent mascarpone. We made the stripes on the meringues using gel food colouring painted on the inside of a piping bag, but if you don’t like to use that you could try with fruit purée instead. Guaranteed to bring ‘oohs’ of delight at the end of any picnic.
- 2 medium egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- Red gel/paste food colouring (we used Sugarflair)
- 1 large punnet of British strawberries
- 1tbsp icing sugar
- 2tbsp (or more to taste) Summer Cup (e.g. Pimm’s or Sipsmith)
- 1/2 tup of mascarpone
- Make the meringues. This is best done several hours (or even a day) in advance. Preheat the oven to 140°c. Prepare a large baking sheet with greaseproof or silicone paper.
- Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking after each addition until you have a lovely sticky, firm meringue.
- Prepare a piping bag – for the stripes, paint thick lines of colouring on the inside of the bag, from nozzle to top – this basically works like stripey toothpaste.
- Put the meringue into the piping bag and pipe approximately 12 meringues onto the baking sheet.
- Pop in the oven for 1 hour. When done, turn off the oven and leave to cool and dry out more in the oven until you are ready to serve.
- An hour or two before serving, prepare the Summer Cup Strawberries – wash, and slice. Put in a bowl with the icing sugar and alcohol, cover and pop in the fridge to macerate.
- Sandwich the meringues together with mascarpone and serve with the strawberries on the side. Alternatively, layer up in glass bowls for a posh Eton Mess.