This week Celebrity Chef &Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of the award-winning Little Geranium in La Cala makes a mess in the kitchen with Meringue!
Last of the summer fruits and messing around with Eton!
ETON MESS is a traditional English dessert dating back to the late eighteen hundreds originating from Eton college. It was served at the Eton school’s annual cricket matches and became famous when the English people discovered that they loved meringue, cream and fresh fruits. Everything related to the dish encapsulated the English summer. Whipped fresh cream, English strawberries, raspberries and blueberries were often added, usually served up with tennis or cricket. Now chefs love evolving recipes but you have to be careful.
Careful, because some classics should be just left alone. Heston Blumenthal said that he couldn’t and wouldn’t change Eton Mess and concluded that although it looks messy that is where the tradition lies. I like Heston but he is not always right. Mushed up fruit and meringue served in a glass is not very 21st century.
I saw this as a challenge and so I went into my home kitchen and started messing about with meringues. I tried many different ways of serving them with cream and summer fruits to make them more attractive but keeping the thread of the dish. Then I remembered my days at The Savoy in London where I had spent my training and I used to pipe little blobs of meringue fora dish they served in a martini glass with fruits.
On one occasion I had piped over a thousand little blobs for the Queen Mother’s birthday party and it came to mind when I was holding the piping bag filled with the meringue mix. So, I piped a tray of tiny meringue blobs and also a spread meringue (like spreading butter) so that I could have little crisps of meringue.
The two different types would add textures. I cooked them really slowly at 100c for about one hour. When I felt them, they were hard on the outside as they should be but soft in the centre. The spread meringue will be crisp all the way through. Then I went to work on laying out the dish on the plate. The dish I created looked quite beautiful but still simple and when served to the guests, it really has the wow factor!
I sent an Instagram message and photo of the new Eton Mess to Heston with the picture but he didn’t respond. In fact,out of the26,000 followers he has, he follows just none! Heston does not follow anyone so hence he would never have seen my creation! If you want to be really creative you can get even more ‘Hestony’ by serving the plate under a glass dome with liquid nitrogen (dry ice) which we have often done at the Geranium.
I hope that I have helped evolve and improve the appearance of this classic but not change the flavours or the textures of the original dish. We are getting to see the last of the summer fruits now so if you want to make something really special with them then have a go at this recipe and impress your guests with your cooking and presentation skills.
Eton not so Messy
Ingredients for Meringue (recipe below makes about eight portions)
Method for Meringues
For the raspberry sauce(coulis)
Method for raspberry sauce
For the meringue crisps
To dress the meringues
To assemble the dessert
Note: You can freeze some raspberries and then lightly crush them and sprinkle over the dessert to finish.
Follow Steven on Instagram ….@saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020
For bookings contact:Michele@thelittlegeranium.com
Thank you for reading this column, “Eton not so Messy”. For more, visit the Euro Weekly News website.
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