Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boozy Eton Mess – A Celebration of Summer!

Pin It If you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting a Wexford strawberry that has been basking in rare Irish sunshine, then you’ll remember it as possibly the most strawberry-flavoured strawberry you’ve tasted in your life. Each perfect specimen looks like it was hand-picked to star in an advert for strawberry-related products. They are the super-models of the strawberry world.
Summer 2011 starts right now!
Fantastic as a no-effort dessert, Wexford strawberries and cream were my choice for one of the ‘afters’ at a recent family party. Madame Unexpected-But-Very-Welcome-Guest, the-mother-of-a-friend-of-my-sister’s, was deposited at my door the previous evening due to double-booking of rooms elsewhere. A sweet lady, she was determined to make herself useful as I bustled around the kitchen, hulling strawberries, preparing salads and generally not being a very good hostess.
Another fine mess...

Without a word of English, she gestured that she would whip cream for me. I gratefully accepted as there was about a litre of the stuff. The trouble is, I assume that people know – by osmosis - where everything is in my kitchen, so when I turned around 10 minutes later, I was surprised to find that poor Madame, sweat dripping from her forehead, had bypassed my trusty stand mixer and was whipping the cream by hand. I pointed to the mixer – not sure she knew what it was – and said in that voice that is reserved for poor cross-language communication “IF ... YOU... PUT ... THE ... CREAM... IN ... THERE... – MUCH FASTER. Plus Vite, I added for good measure, feeling rather pleased with my command of French. The poor lady looked at me with a large measure of confusion and a sprinkling of anxiety, and quizzically confirmed the instruction ...“errr... faster?” When I nodded, she started whipping the cream at a rate that rendered her hand a blur.
I'm from Wexford too!
Confiscating the whisk, I sat her down and made her an Irish coffee while the cream was whisked to soft peaks by mechanical means. She, in turn, confiscated the strawberries and made them the star of the show with this slightly boozy version of Eton Mess, a silly name for one of the easiest, most summery desserts in the world. I can’t think of anything more appropriate to celebrate the start of Summer 2011. Happy May Day!

For 2 Summery servings you will need:
300g ripe strawberries
1 – 2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 – 2 tablespoons Strawberry/Raspberry liqueur (Crème de Fraise/Crème de Framboise)
1 ½ - 2 individual ready-made meringue nests, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
125mls double cream, whipped to soft peaks

Fresh mint leaves and 2 perfect strawberries to decorate

1          Start by cutting the strawberries into smallish bite-sized pieces. Place 200g of the chopped strawberries in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, roughly mash the remaining 100g of strawberries and mix in the icing sugar and the strawberry/raspberry liqueur. (You could use a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you prefer). Add to the bowl of chopped strawberries and mix gently.
2          Spoon a little of the strawberry mixture into two beautiful glasses or Sundae dishes.
3          Gently stir the meringue pieces through the whipped cream, followed by about half the remaining strawberry mixture.
4          Spoon some of the cream mixture in the glasses, and add a layer of the strawberry mixture. Continue layering until you have used up both mixtures, finishing with a final layer of the cream mixture.
5          Decorate with the mint leaves and a perfect strawberry.
Wexford Strawberries hard at work soaking up the sunshine

This can be eaten straight away, but I prefer to leave it in the fridge for about an hour to allow the flavours to meld – alchemy at work.
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  1. I love the pictures! As for the recipe, it sounds just like the kind of mess I need tonight. I tried one Wexton back in time... Happy May!

  2. Oh bless! I love that she started whipping faster. That's quite funny actually :) Lovely drink, very springy with those sexy strawberries!

  3. I can't get over how perfect those berries look! The dessert looks perfect too!

  4. What a lovely post to kick off May. These strobs do look perfect and Eton Mess with booze? That's my kind of girl!

  5. We might have Galway Strawberries for supper tonight if we can squeeze a few more hours of sun into the polytunnel! Lovely photos Hester, as usual. And I am betting my kids will go ga-ga for this one.

  6. Lovely,lovely post! Fabulous pictures and mouthwatering treat! Happy month of May!!!

  7. Oohh I love this! Definitely a keeper for my recipe box!

  8. That is such a cute story.
    This looks like a perfect dessert for summer

  9. such a sweet post! and your strawberries look so red and how the dessert turned out!

  10. Simply delicious! What lovely pictures: perfect and colourful! :-)

  11. I love that dessert!! Oh I could attack that right about now! :)

  12. Poor lady!!!!!

    The Eton Mess looks worth the hard work though!

  13. I love desserts like this that highlight the flavors of the simple, fresh ingredients! :D Thanks for sharing!!!!

  14. This looks so perfect for summer. I think I'm jealous of your super strawberries!

  15. The more Eton Mess I see, the more I am realizing I am going to have to make some soon. It sounds like something my family would love.

  16. Your story had me laughing :) I've had my share of funny language barrier stories too. The strawberries do look like the perfect ones, almost unreal. Your desserts looks like the perfect way to welcome summer.

  17. Those strawberries look amazing!!! You can't beat an Irish Strawberry!

  18. I have never had a Wexford strawberry. I have been hooked on Chandler, but you're making a good case for trying the Wexford ones too. How fabulous about the mixer. I love that she was so determined and that your response was to give her an Irish coffee. Wonderful!

  19. Hilarious! And beautiful pictures. That looks like a place I need to visit :)

  20. Gorgeous! I've got to give this a try. Sweet little lamb. :)

  21. Oh, yeah! Love this one, too! I'm your newest follower...looking forward to more magical food from you :)


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