Summer, and the holidays, are upon us, and what better way to celebrate the festive season than with some truly decadent, gasp-inducing desserts, perfect for an alfresco lunch or sumptuous dinner?
Granny Mouse Country House and Spa, nestled in the rolling hills and verdant pastures of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, offers decadent three-course end-of-year do’s that include a trio of desserts, one of which you can easily whip up to wow your friends and family if you are unable to take your seat at Granny Mouse’s table.
“Eton Mess is a popular British dessert,” said Granny Mouse GM Sean Granger.
“This version, Strawberries and Pimms Eton Mess, is perfect if you can't decide on what to eat or drink” he chuckled.
“It’s a light and surprisingly refreshing dessert that isn't too sweet and is perfect for a summertime treat”.
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1¼ cup superfine sugar
2½ teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon white vinegar (not white wine vinegar)
Strawberries and Cream
1½ cup strawberries, stems and hulls removed, small dice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Pimms No1. Liqueur divided
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 cup Strawberries, stems removed and sliced thin
1 cup English cucumber, quartered and sliced thin
½ cup orange, peeled and sliced small
½ cup green apple, diced small
Preheat oven to 150°C. Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw 6 x 10cm circles on each parchment paper if desired.
In a bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly pour in the sugar as you mix. Once all the sugar is added, scrape down the sides then whip for another 3-4 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved and stiff peaks have formed. The meringue will be nice and glossy.
Add in the cornstarch and vinegar and whip for one more minute.
Divide the mixture amongst the baking sheets in 6 equal portions on both sheets. Using a spoon, form each portion into about a 10cm diameter circle with the sides slightly higher than the middle.
Place in oven and immediately turn the heat down to 120°C. Bake for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven off and crack the doors slightly letting them cool for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven to cool completely.
These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. Don't over bake them or they won’t have that nice chewy middle that just melts in your mouth.
Strawberry whipped cream
Combine the strawberries, lemon juice, one tablespoon of Pimms and the sugar in a bowl. Stir gently to combine and let macerate for 30 minutes, or overnight. If overnight, keep in an airtight container and chill.
Right before assembly of the dessert whip the cream to soft peaks, sweeten with icing sugar then whip to stiff peaks. Drain the strawberries and then fold into the cream.
Combine all the items in a bowl and gently stir. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the lemonade ginger ale syrup over the mixture and chill until ready to serve.
Place one meringue circle on a plate and gently press to crack.
Spread on about ⅓ cup of the strawberry whipped cream then place another meringue circle on top.
Repeat with more whipped cream then a few tablespoons of the topping.
Add a sprig of fresh mint and a few sliced almonds. Serve immediately.