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Desserts

Eton mess

Eton mess
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Strawberries don't wait for you to find them. They beckon. Their botanical name, Fragaria, means fragrance, and it's their sudden perfume in farmers markets, stall after stall, that signals the start of a new fruit season in Los Angeles. From ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, largely unattended, plus 30 minutes chilling time | Serves 12

Meringues

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

Step 1Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add half the sugar, and continue beating until the peaks have re-formed. Stop beating and fold in the remaining sugar.

Step 2Place 12 equal-sized dollops of the meringue mixture on the papered sheets. Put the sheets in the oven for five minutes, then open the door and reduce the temperature to 275 degrees. Close the oven door and continue to cook for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. The meringues will be ready when they are a pale golden color and can be lifted effortlessly from the paper.

Eton mess

  • 4 pints (about 3 3/4 pounds) ripe strawberries
  • 8 meringues
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Step 1Hull the strawberries and halve them, or if they are very large, cut them into quarters. Place them in the bottom of a large bowl.

Step 2Break the meringues into bite-sized pieces, and scatter them over the strawberries. Lightly whip the cream, and spoon it over the meringues and strawberries.

Step 3Gently fold until mixed together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill, then serve as soon as possible (best eaten within a few hours). One irresistible addition is a great quantity of vanilla ice cream thrown in at the last moment.

Note: This recipe makes 12 good-sized meringues, but you'll use only 8 in the mess, so you'll have 4 to do with as you choose. As this recipe involves whisking egg whites, it is worth reiterating here that you should ensure your mixing bowl is scrupulously clean before you start. Have a large metal spoon on hand for folding.

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