Even though we think we can, we cannot live by the internet alone. I say this as you are reading a food blog. It has a lot of answers, yes, and it has answered a lot of my questions – how to get gum off a shoe? how to catch a bat? what does lmfao mean? – and it’s also great for googling pictures of certain male celebrities without their shirts on. But let’s not forget how awesome the newspaper is. The newspaper is like Christmas morning, you don’t know what you’re going to get and there’s a chance it could be something useless but usually it’s pretty good and you’re happy with what you find. The newspaper surprises you – you read it without entering anything into a search field, searching for something you already knew you wanted to find. It gives you something you didn’t think you needed or wanted to know or even knew existed in the first place. I thank the food writers in the Washington Post for writing so persuasively about fennel that I gave it a try. I never would have searched for fennel recipes on my own. And Ania and Anise have had a beautiful life together since that convincing talking to.
It’s so easy to find recipes now online, but with the newspaper, you cut out the recipe and stick it on the fridge. And there it is, in your face, beckoning, until you make it. You don’t have to feel bad about cutting up a newspaper, you’re just going to throw it out (I mean recycle it) anyway. Even with my best intentions, I never go through all of my online bookmarks – they’re wallowing somewhere in my browser, and I’m a bit of a hoarder with magazines, they just pile up, with well meaning post-it notes marking pages of recipes that will take me forever to get around to making. Cookbooks are a different story, though, I cook from them a lot. I think it’s because I paid a bit of cash for them and would feel guilty not using them.
Every Saturday, I love reading Lucy Waverman’s food column in The Globe and Mail. Her write up of Eton Mess got me off my ass to try it. I had heard about it and whenever I did, I thought to myself, that sounds so good why don’t I make it, and then the fleeting thought goes poof. But I cut out her recipe and stuck it on my fridge and it was the last thing I saw before I headed to the green grocers. When I saw those strawberries and raspberries there, I knew what I was making that night. It became my favorite dessert last summer. And it’s a strong contender for being my favourite this summer.
The original recipe only has raspberries, but I think that adding Ontario strawberries makes it even better and is a great way to eat those Ontario strawberries that are happening now.
OH! This would be great with fresh peaches and raspberries once we get into the depths of summer peach season. I sense a follow up post later this summer!
(slightly adapted from Lucy Waverman’s recipe in The Globe and Mail July 23, 2011)
There are four parts to this recipe: fresh fruit, whipped cream, meringues, and raspberry sauce. The fresh fruit just needs to be prepped, the raspberry sauce is just a blitz in the food processor, you can purchase the meringues to make this extra breezy but please whip your own whipped cream. Don’t use the stuff out of a can.
I use these quantities as a guideline. If you like more whipped cream or fruit or more crunchy meringue, do what you want to do.
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
*you can buy these and no one will know and if they know, they won’t care. But sometimes they are hard to find in the grocery store or bakery, so if you can’t find them, make them. They’re not too much work if you use an electric mixer. If you’re whipping the egg whites by hand, well, they’re a bit of muscle work.
If you’re going to buy the meringues, get about 10 to 12 meringues cookies since they’re usually smaller at the bakery.
1 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
The rest of the good stuff
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries
1 cup whipping cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar
If you’re going to make your own meringues, and there is absolutely no reason you should feel compelled to unless you can’t buy them anywhere, do that first.
Preheat the oven to 275 F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whip the egg whites until frothy, then start adding in your sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until the egg whites are stiff, thick and very glossy. They should definitely stand up in peaks. Whip in the lemon juice.
Spoon the meringue mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet in six dollops. Each dollop is a very generous heaping tablespoon of meringue. Bake for 1 hour or until crisp. I pulled mine out after one hour and they were a wee bit soft on the inside which ended up being fine but they could have probably used another 10 to 15 minutes. Once they are out of the oven set them aside.
Combine raspberries with lemon juice and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. This sauce will be a hot pink colour.
If you haven’t done so yet, make your whipped cream. Whip your whipping cream and sugar together until it’s well…whipped cream. You’ll know it when you see it. You can whip this by hand with a whisk. Making whipped cream is less work then whipping egg whites for meringue if you’re nervous about getting a sore elbow.
Putting it all together:
Crumble your meringues into a large bowl. If the bowl you used for your whipped cream is large enough, just add the crumbled meringue into the whipped cream bowl. Drizzle in about half of the raspberry sauce you made and then fold in the raspberries and strawberries. When serving, either on individual plates or a giant nom-nom family style platter for everyone to spoon off a helping, drizzle the Eton Mess with the rest of the raspberry sauce.