Eton Mess Tart & Apologies

Posted on April 28, 2011


Dear lovely readers of Parlour & Pantry,

I must confess, I have been rather tardy with my blog posts of late. The combination of a busy personal (wedding, holiday etc..) and professional (work, work, work etc…) life have taken their toll and resulted in limited energy levels for cooking, let alone sharing it with others. I think you would be less than impressed by late night dinners of Covent Garden soup, scrambled eggs on toast and mixed bean salads!

However, a super Easter break and time to refocus has renewed my passion for all things food and I now share with you this scrumptious pudding, perfect to accompany any spring or summer feast (recipe taken from Jamie Does…  in Good Food magazine). As a huge fan of Eton Mess, the addition here of a pastry base could be considered sacrilege of a classic. Not so! This manages to take Eton Mess from a classic, lazy concoction, to something all the more ‘elegant’ and guest worthy.

Should you wish to fast track things, you have a few options with the pasty….

1. buy a ready-made pastry case

2. buy ready-made and rolled short crust pastry to line your tin with

Now, if you go done the route of option 2 you’ll hardly be able to tell whether you made the pastry or Sainsburys did. However, if you buy ready-made, be prepared that the perfection of the pastry will give the game away (as below).

Personally, I think ready-made cases are a bit of a cheat and look a little 80’s! The homemade, slightly amateur look is perfect for me on this occasion.

The great thing about this dish is that you can mix the fruits up depending on what is in season. Right now, lightly poached gooseberries, gently pulped and stirred into the meringue-sweetened cream would be great. Clearly with summer bringing berries in abundance, any mix would be  perfectly placed here or perhaps some poached cherries with toasted almonds scattered over the top.

All these options provide great justification to make this over and over again!

Eton Mess Tart

Pastry: 250g plain flour, 50g icing sugar, 125g cold butter (cubed), 1 large egg, splash milk, olive oil (to grease tin)

Filling: 3 tbsp sugar, 400ml double cream, zest 1 orange, 600g seasonal berries, 4 meringue nests (broken into rough pieces)

Make pastry by sifting flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg and milk and gently combine until a ball forms. Sprinkle with flour, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Lightly oil a loose bottomed tart tin (approx. 25cm). Roll out pastry (using additional flour to prevent it sticking), into a circle about 0.5cm thick and use to line the tart tin, pushing into the edges. Prick the base, cover with clingfilm and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180c/GM4. Remove pastry case from freezer, cover with greaseproof paper (push into the sides) and fill with baking beans/uncooked rice. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then remove. Take  out the baking beans and replace tart case in the oven for a further 10 minutes until firm and almost biscuit like.

To make the filling, whisk 2 tbsp of the sugar with cream and most of the zest until soft peaks form. Put half of the berries in a bowl with the remaining sugar and mash with a fork. Fold the mashed berries and broken meringue pieces into the cream. Tip mixture into cooled pastry case and gently shake to spread out. Sprinkle over remaining berries and zest and serve!

Serves 8