I love Christmas. I remember back when I was living in London, I worked in the middle of Oxford Street. This particular memory has stayed with me so vividly, sometimes I forget it’s been six years since I moved out of London. I remember what I wore – my black-grey, double-breasted tweed coat and leather gloves. I think I was wearing jeans and some pussy bow blouse. I was wearing eyeliner and I was waiting for the bus to take me back home from office. I don’t remember whether it was a good or bad day at work, or if it was my last day of work either. Here’s what I love about this memory – when I looked up from where I was standing, bang in front of me was Debenhams all lit up for the first time that year. I remember it like it was yesterday, it was cold and noisy. Everyone around me was very excited about the holiday season coming up or perhaps it was a Friday and everyone was out for post work drinks. I felt content and extremely joyous. I remember being very happy, happy within my own self. Content about that very minute in my life. I didn’t know at that time, but that was my last Christmas in London.
But enough about the holidays, let’s talk food! Or mixing the joy of gifts and food. In a Christmas panic? My answer. Nothing says I thought long and hard (even if you didn’t) about your present like an edible gift.
I personally love edible gifts and my Eton mess in a mason jar is so simple AND it bears the Xmas colours! Perfect. If you are heading to your friend’s house for a Christmas Eve bash, take along a couple of jars of Eton Mess and suddenly, you are the amazing, thoughtful guest who got dessert. And who doesn’t like dessert? Who doesn’t like being that amazing person who got everyone dessert? Everyone loves you.
It’s messy, unorganised and frankly callous. But it’s the perfect balance between satisfying and not sickly sweet. I prefer to use mini meringues as opposed to crushing them. Just be careful with baking the meringues — I tend to watch mine like a hawk when it’s in the oven. Eton mess may not be a traditionally winter dessert, but for those living in warmer countries, winter is a bit loosey goosey term anyway.
Eton Mess in a Jar
4 egg whites
250 gms caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
– The first step to making meringues, is to clean the bowl and whisk with a little vinegar. Just dab it on a tissue to make your equipment super clean. This helps in the egg whites whipping up super easy.
– Add the egg whites to the bowl, make sure you don’t get any egg yolks in your mixture. Whisk for 5 minutes until frothy.
– Add the caster sugar one spoon at a time.
– Add vanilla essence and whisk till they become stiff, glossy peaks. Make sure the mixture is smooth, if not, mix until smooth.
– Place a silicon mat on your baking tray.
– Using a spoon or piping bag, place the mixture in small amounts on the tray.
– Bake for 25 minutes at 150°C or 300°F.
– Turn off the oven, but keep the meringues in it and allow it to cool.
150g strawberry jam
– Prepare your strawberries by warming the strawberry jam lightly on a low flame.
– Take it off the heat and add the strawberries to it.
½ tsp vanilla essence
150ml double cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
– In a large bowl, add the cream, caster sugar and vanilla essence and whisk until you have soft peaks.
In a mason jar, place a few meringues at the bottom. Top it up with cream and the strawberry mixture. Repeat until the jar is full.