Eton mess

Serves 4-6

3 medium organic egg whites
170g/6oz caster sugar
800g/1lb 5oz red berries, hulled
40g/1oz icing sugar
2 tablespoons raspberry
eau-de-vie (optional)
Squeeze of lemon juice
450ml/15fl oz whipping cream

Heat oven to 140C/275F/Gas 2.

Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until softly peaking. Sprinkle over the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well with each addition until the meringue is smooth and glossy. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and using a palette knife, spread the meringue to a 1cm (1/2in) thickness, roughly 30cm (12in) square. Bake for 45 minutes; the outside should be crisp, the inside soft. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, purée a third of the berries in a blender with the icing sugar, eau-de-vie if using, and lemon juice. Pass through a sieve into a bowl; taste for sweetness and add more sugar or lemon juice as necessary. Add the remaining fruit to this sauce and toss to mix.

Break the meringue into large pieces. Arrange half in a deep 20cm (8in) bowl or individual bowls. Cover with half the fruit, then half the cream. Repeat the layers. Serve as soon as possible; the meringue softens after a while, but is still good to eat.

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