If you ask someone if they’ve heard of Ottolenghi, the answer is often, ‘Yes, I know, it’s the place with the meringues’. Though we learned how to make the giant meringues at Baker and Spice, it was our multiflavoured, multicoloured ones (proudly filling our windows) that became synonymous with Ottolenghi and earned us lots of imitators, both good and bad. And now, whether we like it or not, we are identified with those giant balls of sweetness. To make meringues you need a good freestanding electric mixer.
Making them by hand is out of the question and using a handheld electric mixer is also not very practical, as the mixture needs a long whisking time and turns too hard for most weak machines.
Makes 12 large meringues
(p 249, The Ottolenghi cookbook)
Light, pretty, festive and special, this can pull off the trick of being either the Christmas Yule log (without the chocolate or the sponge) or the perfect pudding for a midsummer lunch.
(p 344, Plenty More)
This is Eton mess, NOPI-style. It’s both a wow of a pudding and – given that all the elements can be made in advance and just put together at the last minute – is also a very relaxing one to make and serve to friends. The dried rose petals look lovely sprinkled on top, but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of any: the advantage of having a pudding with the word ‘mess’ in its title is that there is very little pressure to perform on the presentation front. You’ll have a little bit of sorbet left over here, which can be saved for another day. You can also buy good-quality strawberry sorbet and save yourself much of the work.
270g crème fraîche
15g icing sugar, sifted
1 1/4 tsp rose water
40g caster sugar
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp sumac
200g strawberries, hulled and chopped into 2cm pieces
60g meringues (shop-bought is fine), broken roughly into 2cm pieces
seeds of 1 medium pomegranate (100g)
2 tsp dried rose petals (optional)
40g caster sugar
40g icing sugar
30g liquid glucose
200g strawberries, hulled and blitzed into a purée
1 Place all the ingredients for the sorbet in a small saucepan with 60ml of water. Warm through on a low heat, stirring so that the sugar and glucose dissolve. Remove from the heat and set aside until completely cool before transferring to an ice cream maker. Churn for about 20 minutes, until firm but not completely set. Place in a container and freeze until needed.
2 Place the mascarpone and crème fraîche in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the icing sugar and rose water and continue to whisk, just until combined. Keep in the fridge until required.
3 Mix the caster sugar with 40ml of boiling water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the pomegranate molasses and sumac, stir to combine and set aside.
4 When ready to serve, divide the strawberries between four bowls or glasses, followed by the meringue, rose water cream and half the sumac syrup. Top with the pomegranate seeds and a dessertspoon of sorbet. Finish with the remaining syrup and the rose petals and serve at once