Punjabi Mess

Not Quite Eton

Imitation they say is the “best form of flattery” but a carbon copy of an Eton Mess is straight plagiarism and where’s the fun or creativity in that? Inspiration took to the starting blocks after staring at a bowl of egg whites separated from their kin, yolks I’d used to make a mango and cardamom parfait and as we know waste is a terrible thing. What to do with the anaemic soup of whites? Whip them into meringues of course, but just ordinary meringues? Again what a waste, so deserving a more regal accent, I touched it with rosewater and cardamom, baked then crushed with delicious cream and swirled through with defrosted forest fruits. Nothing particularly Punjabi about that I hear you say. Well, no celebration in the Punjabi tradition is ever complete without a drop of the hard stuff, normally it involves screw cap being turned on a bottle of scotch but in this instance, I went for something a little more genteel a touch of crème de framboise. Drizzled over a small mound of smashed perfumed meringues and crimson fruit it’s a wonderfully indulgent way to re-incarnate a classical pudding.

Serves 8+

Rose & Cardamom Meringues

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder

For the Mess

  • 400ml double cream, whisked into peaks
  • 3tbs forest fruit or similar soft fruit, I used frozen fruit and de-frosted in a little water
  • 1 tbs raspberry jam
  • 1 tbs Crème de Framboise or Cassis
Punjabi mess

How To Make Meringues

Using a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to form stiff peaks, i.e. as you remove the whisk you’ll see the mix rise. Now gradually add in the sugar and keep whisking until the ingredients combine to form a slick gorgeously glossy look. You’ll know that the mixture is ready if you tip the bowl upside down and the ingredients don’t fall out! Sprinkle in the cardamom powder and swirl with the rose water.

Pre-heat your oven to approx. 140C/Gas Mark 1. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and using a tablespoon scoop a full blob of the meringue mix onto the tray with confidence. Keep repeating until the bowl is empty. Bake for 40 minutes, they should take on a lightly tanned appearance. Now turn the oven off and LEAVE the meringues in the oven for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible. 

How To Make A Mess

Grab a large bowl and gently crush two thirds of the meringues (keep the others as little treats to enjoy with a cup of tea), decant the whipped cream, pop in the jam and forest fruits and tenderly swish the ingredients around until you have a gorgeous riot of colour. Drizzle the booze (Crème de Framboise) over the top.

Serve the Punjabi Mess immediately in pudding bowls or glasses.

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