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Eton Mess with black pepper, cardamom seeds and rose water

I couldn’t bring myself to write another standard Eton Mess recipe, although I’ll admit to a life long passion for it. My mother made it often, though I doubt that she called it by the name. Also, she would par freeze it, so that by the time we ate it, it would resemble a semi freddo. She also, in true 70s style, sometimes added a glug of Kirsch to the strawberries and after having eaten it at a cousin’s house with pineapple mixed in with the strawberries, that too.
I add a teaspoon of Rosewater, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, that good friend of the strawberry and a few crushed cardamom pods. And that places this recipe in 2020 fair and square.

Serves 6



2 large, organic egg whites
120g caster sugar
500g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped, cold
450 ml double cream, cold
1 tsp rose water
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Seeds from 1 cardamom pod, finely chopped
1 tbs icing sugar



Heat oven to 120C and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl using an electric whisk, or in a stand mixer, until they form stiff peaks.
Then add the sugar in 3 lots, making sure you whisk them back to stiff peaks every time. 
Dollop spoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the baking parchment and place on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1hr – 1hr15 mins until the meringues are completely hard. They should easily peel off the paper and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool.
Blend a third of the strawberries and the teaspoon of rosewater to a purée. 
Whisk the cream in a large bowl with the black pepper, crushed cardamom  seeds and icing sugar until it just holds its shape. 
Roughly crush the meringues and fold them and the chopped strawberries into the cream, then swirl the strawberry purée through. 
Carefully spoon into stem glasses. 

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