… whilst living in the 21st century means we have access to an incredible array of produce from all over the globe it also means we put pressure on producers to deliver food that simply wouldn’t naturally be available and more than it’s effect on the environment I think this has effected our attitude towards food in a negative way… and it’s slowly crept upon us over the past decade or so… i’m not going to lecture you here on autumnal peruvian asparagus but the point i’d like to make is that our acceptance of this year-round abundance is an acceptance in what I think is a decline in quality and therefor taste…
… take the humble strawberry… this juicy, plump, bright red little berry, in my opinion should come to you firm, sweet but with a slightly tart edge to it that really brings out its flavour and if you’re lucky enough to have access to a pick-your-own farm or a supermarket that stocks them locally and seasonally in June and July then you’ll know exactly what i’m talking about… but now we’ve reached the end of August the shelves are still being stocked with inferior, dark red, funky berries that simply shouldn’t be… and whilst we should all stop purchasing them to prove to the ‘market’ that we don’t want these inferior products i’m not sure my influence is that strong… so there’s only one thing to do with these little beasts and that’s cook with them…
strawberry swirl meringues
so I was making traditional vanilla egg custard ice cream last weekend which meant I had egg whites and we all know that this means it’s meringue time… I wanted to experiment with adding the strawberry puree into the egg white mix to see what would happen and i’m very pleased with the results. The meringue is crispy and golden on the outside because I used golden caster sugar but on the inside they are a soft and stunning shade of rosy pink with dark red flecks, every mouthful a little surprise of colour… I added a little puree to the cream and a dash of rosewater too just for something special…
for the strawberry puree
1 punnet of strawberries (roughly 15 strawberries) – hulled and chopped
2 tablespoons caster sugar
for the meringue
3 large free-range egg whites
175g golden caster sugar
a pinch of salt
for the cream
150ml fresh whipping cream
1 teaspoon rosewater
pre-heat the oven to 140C and line a large baking tray with parchment
start with the puree by blending the strawberries with the sugar using one of those hand-held thingies – set aside
in a large, clean bowl beat the egg whites until medium hard peaks are formed, then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time beating in between each addition, until you have firm, glossy peaks – gently fold in 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree but don’t mix it completely
feel free to pipe the meringue into fancy swirls but if you’re impatient and shaky like me then go for a ‘rustic’ look… simply dollop generous sized mounds of the stuff onto the baking tray and pop into the oven for 35 minutes at which point you switch off the oven and leave the meringues and oven to cool
when you’re ready to serve simply whip the cream to a thick consistency, fold in another two tablespoons of puree and a little rose water and use this to sandwich to pieces of meringue together… I got 7 sandwiches out of this recipe
drizzle with the remaining puree and serve
eat and of course, enjoy!
Susan Lindquist says
we are all about the peaches and stone fruits right now … berries have gone the way pf spring and summer … is your ever-bearing strawberry plant giving you these berries or did you really buy outback berries?
Snap! I have meringues baking in the oven as I write this Dom. I know exactly what you mean about strawberries- just today I was moaning to a colleague that the tasty ones seem but a fond memory..just like that heatwave!
Baking Addict says
ooh these look lovely Dom! I love strawberries and am guilty of eating them when not in true season but I do try to eat seasonal produce as much as possible. Having said that, I've not had strawberries for a few weeks now!
This would be a huge hit here with all the strawberry lovers. Thanks for the recipe!
Michael Toa says
This is just right up my alley. Such beautiful colour inside the meringue… and you know I'm a big fan of rosewater 🙂 YUM!
I try to be hard core on this one, not that I always manage it and only buy British strawberries in season, but other than growing your own nothing I've bought in the supermarket beats the local ones bought at the local Greengrocers. That aside your meringues are sublime and I want one – for breakfast now.
Mark Willis says
You are so right about people's lack of knowledge of seasonality! The average man in the street has absolutely NO IDEA when asparagus is in season, but at least with strawberries the annual Wimbledon obsession with them gives people a clue!
Sue/the view from great island says
I couldn't agree with you more about the plight of produce. It's a complex issue, though, because the availability of all kinds of new foods is so stimulating for a food lover.
I love how cooking 'improves' on less than perfect fruit, this sounds awesome!
Couscous & Consciousness says
I couldn't agree with you more. It seems an absolute travesty to me that no matter where in the world you live, you seem to be able to buy strawberries in the supermarket pretty much year round, and as a result I think people have forgotten what a perfectly ripe, picked at just the right moment tastes like. And, in my part of the world, strawberry season is now just a few months a way 🙂
When they arrive, I will definitely be giving this a try. I never would have thought of using the strawberry puree in the actual meringue, but I love the idea and can't wait to try.
I wholeheartedly agree with you!
The blurring of the true seasons for our food means a watering down of flavour, strawberries being a classic example. There must be people who think a real strawberry is meant to be almost tasteless!
Your meringues look absolutely gorgeous!
The KitchenMaid says
SO sorry to miss you… making my first tentative foray back into things online now and want to weep at thought of being so close but yet so far (sigh). These meringues also make me want to cry, they are so perfect. I can't even make toast at the moment without it being a disaster!
Anyway, glad to see all is well, look forward to more fun and games and getting back into RR soon. xx
Phil in the Kitchen says
Lovely meringues – I could probably only eat 20 or so in a single sitting, though. You're absolutely right about seasonal fruits, but I do think that supermarkets are missing a trick by selling poor quality strawberries. I've just been enjoying some excellent fresh strawberries from the local PYO farm. There are a number of varieties of strawberry available now which have been developed to be harvested much later. I was a bit doubtful about some of these at first but having tasted varieties such as Flamenco and Finesse I'm completely converted. We can grow really fine fresh strawberries in this country for at least two extra months. We just need to persuade the supermarkets to stock them.
Karen S Booth says
You know me and my continual rant about food miles and out of season food, and I agree with everything you have said, plus, I am a bit of a meringue lover, so those wee meringues would be calling for me! Another lovely SEASONAL post Dom and lovely photos again too! 🙂
Magnolia Verandah says
Loving all these RED recipes and what nicer that strawberries in meringue. Strawberries are in abundance at the moment…….on to this one.
Jenn S says
I'm with you on the food issue!! Here in the southwest desert is seems to be even worse. We get those awful over ripe, not so fresh fruits far too early in the season too. It's pretty sad actually. Love how you overcame the hurdle of not so fresh strawberries. The dessert looks lovely!