Dessert: Eton mess with strawberries

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A proper comfort dessert, this is easy to make – and also fattening. I've made it with a mixture of puréed and whole fruit, so it ends up looking a little more elegant than it can sometimes appear. The meringue is the most time-consuming part of this dish, so make it one or two days before, or cheat and buy some good-quality meringue from a baker's shop or supermarket.

A proper comfort dessert, this is easy to make – and also fattening. I've made it with a mixture of puréed and whole fruit, so it ends up looking a little more elegant than it can sometimes appear. The meringue is the most time-consuming part of this dish, so make it one or two days before, or cheat and buy some good-quality meringue from a baker's shop or supermarket.

For the meringue

1 egg white

60g caster sugar

Or buy 100-150g ready-made, good-quality meringue(s)

To serve

200g ripe strawberries

500ml double cream

100g caster sugar

A few drops of vanilla essence

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites and the caster sugar until very stiff, so that it forms peaks when the whisk is removed; a mixing machine or food processor will give the best results.

Spread the meringue on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, place in the oven at the lowest temperature setting and bake overnight until dry and brittle. Six or seven hours is long enough. Don't forget it next morning if you're having a lie-in. Remove the leaves and hull half of the strawberries, and process in a blender with half of the sugar until smooth.

Whisk together the double cream, the rest of the caster sugar and vanilla essence until stiff. Break the meringue into small pieces and fold into the cream with half the strawberry purée. Don't mix it together too thoroughly; you want a ripple effect.

To serve, remove the leaves, hull and slice the rest of the strawberries. Spoon the cream mixture into the middle of the plate then drizzle some of the strawberry purée around the outside and scatter the sliced strawberries over the top.

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