Hazelnut and Raspberry Eton Mess

Chewy meringue, luscious cream, and juicy raspberries

Most of my baking is throw it in a bowl give a quick stir and throw it in the oven. Every now and again I like to go a little bit fancier, not as fancy as those creations you see in French patisseries that are total works of art, but a bit more involved than a tray bake.

As with some of my favourite recipes this came together as the result of an accident. I was in a supermarket and meant to lift ground almonds but lifted ground hazelnuts instead. If you can’t find ground hazelnuts, just give whole hazelnuts a whiz in the food processor, just don’t go too fine with them or else the hazelnuts will start to release their natural oils which is death for a meringue. I used raspberries in this, but oranges or strawberries also go really well.

I’ll be honest, I was trying to make pretty frou frou little meringue nests. It went horribly wrong (I have a checkered past with meringue and it beat me once again. I think I need one those beautiful very expensive mixers, just saying in case anyone would like to send one to the Sunnyside Kitchen and break my meringue curse). If you are better with meringues than I am please give the little nests a try I think they would look adorable.

My meringue nests didn’t really work out.

So I had a pile of ugly meringues, and rather than waste these I just adapted what I had and layered broken meringue, cream, chocolate and fruit to make a version of Eton mess, it tasted fabulous! This is also a fantastic gluten free dessert.

I like to think of cooking as a metaphor for life, sometimes you end up with something you didn’t want or didn’t ask for. Sometimes things don’t work out as you hoped or planned. But with a little imagination and the right attitude you can still create something great.

Served in little jars or glasses these make a delicious dessert.

Ingredients

Meringue

150 Grams Hazelnuts (ground)

7 Eggs whites

385 Grams Caster sugar (if you don’t have caster sugar, whiz ordinary granulated sugar in a food processor of a couple of seconds)

1/2 Tsp White wine vinegar

Filling

100 Grams Chocolate (use the the type you prefer and grate or scrap into curls

1 Punnet of raspberries

250 Ml Whipped Cream

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees, line two baking sheets with baking parchment, drawing on circles (if making meringue nests)
  2. Separate your eggs and whisk the egg whites until they resemble stiff peaks, whisk in the sugar a tablespoon at time and then add the vinegar.
  3. Gradually fold in the ground hazelnuts with a metal spoon, and then pipe or spoon onto the prepared baking trays
  4. Bake for 25-30 mins and remove and allow cool before carefully removing from the baking parchment
  5. When the meringue are completely cold, start to layer them up with the whipped cream, prepared fruit and grated chocolate. I use little jam jars, but these also look really good served in tall glasses. If you have any whole hazelnuts left you could also toast these in a pan and allow them to cool before topping the desserts to give some crunch

Halloumi, Orange and Hazelnut Salad

Halloumi, orange and hazelnut salad

This is a quick and easy recipe, that makes a tasty lunch.  It’s also great as a simple starter, that can be done with little fuss if you are cooking for other people. 

The bright tangy orange balances the salty cheese and crunch of the nuts brings it all together.

Ingredients

1 Large orange

225 grams Halloumi

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

25 grams Hazelnuts

1 Packet of mixed salad

Olive oil and vinegar to dress the salad

Method

  • Cut the peel from the orange, making sure you take all the white pith off.  You should cut out segments (leaving the skin between the segments behind), or cut the peeled orange across thinly in rounds if you prefer.  (This can be done in advance, this is useful if you are making this as a starter).
  • In a dry pan toast the hazelnuts, until they smell nutty.  Don’t leave these unattended as they can burn. (This can also be done advance if you are making this salad as a starter).
  • Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil, slice the halloumi in 1 cm thick slices and fry until golden brown on each side.
  • Divide the salad between the plates and dress with your preferred dressing (for this salad, I prefer olive oil and white wine vinegar)
  • Distribute the orange segments and hazelnuts between the plates and top with the fried halloumi.

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