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Archive for September 1, 2015

RECIPE: Eton Mess, A School Tradition

In recognition of back-to-school recipes, we offer the Eton Mess.

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of strawberries, pieces of meringue and whipped cream. It is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against rival Harrow School (both are among the most prestigious secondary schools in the U.K.), and on any other day that one wants to eat it.

The recipe has been known by this name since the 19th century. Variations include bananas instead of strawberries and a scoop of ice cream, which actually preceded the addition of the meringues.

Why is it called a “mess?” According to Merriam-Webster, the word may refer to the appearance of the dish or may be used in the older sense of a prepared dish of soft food.

The recipe version below was sent to us by Safest Choice pasteurized eggs—the eggs to use when the recipe requires eggs that aren’t cooked, like Caesar salad, eggnog, mousse and steak tartare. (You can also pasteurize eggs at home.)

   

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A mess indeed, but a delicious mess! Photo courtesy SharedAppetite.com.

 
The recipe was developed by Chris of SharedAppetite.com, who added his own touch: a garnish of a chocolate-covered strawberry in addition to the diced strawberries in the Mess. Active time is 20 minutes, total time is 1 hour. You can save time buy buying the meringues, if you can get your hands on good quality ones. Since they will be smashed, you can substitute Pavlovas (individual meringue dessert cups).

RECIPE: ETON MESS

Ingredients For 4 Servings

For The Chocolate Chip Meringues

  • 4 egg whites, ideally pasteurized
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips
  •  
    For The Chocolate Covered strawberries

  • 2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped dark chocolate
  • Garnish: 8 chocolate covered strawberries (instructions below)
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/crushed meringues eton mess sharedappetitecom 230

    Crushed meringues give the dish texture. Photo courtesy SharedAppetite.com.

     

    For The Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 275°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy and soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat, adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until all the sugar has been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. The meringue is done when the peaks are stiff, hold their shape, and no grit is felt from the sugar. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate.

    2. LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Drop the meringues by the spoonful (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the meringue easily peels away from the parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack. Meringues can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for several days.

     

    3. MAKE the chocolate-covered strawberries. Melt the chocolate in a microwave; dip the whole strawberries and set on wax paper or parchment to dry.

    4. COMBINE the diced strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract in a small mixing bowl. Let sit for approximately 15-30 minutes to macerate.

    5. MAKE the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. To avoid splashing, start on a lower speed and increase the speed as the whipped cream begins to take shape. Beat to the desired stiffness. If you won’t be using it right away, cover and place in the refrigerator. It will keep for several hours, and might need a quick whip with a whisk to regain its shape.

    6. BREAK 8-12 meringues by hand: A good variety of big and small pieces creates good texture in the dessert.

    7. LAYER approximately 1/2 cup whipped cream in 8 dessert bowls. Top with a few spoonfuls of macerated strawberries, and a generous sprinkling of dark chocolate and crushed meringues. Top with a chocolate covered strawberry and serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Gyros At Home

    September 1st is National Gyro Day, and the first thing you need to know is that gyro is pronounced YEE-ro, not JY-ro.

    A gyro is a Greek lamb sandwich on pita bread, roasted on a vertical spit and served with tomato, onion, and tzatziki, a yogurt-cucumber sauce (recipe). Other condiments and sauces can be added or substituted.

    Eating food off of pita bread or wrapping food in pita is an Ancient Greek tradition; the pita served as an edible plate. The tradition continues today—although you’ll also get a piece of foil or kitchen parchment to hold the pita from a street vendor, and a plate in a restaurant.

    Most people eat gyros made by food vendors, but for National Pita Day, try making your own at home. The recipe below is adapted by one from Maria Benardis, award-winning author, chef and founder of Greekalicious, Sydney, Australia’s first exclusively Greek cooking school.

    Traditionally, the deboned leg of lamb is grilled on on a rotating vertical spit (see photo below), and shaved off the leg in thin slices. In fact, the Turkish name for the same sandwich, döner kebab, literally means “rotating roast.”

    But for Maria’s recipe you don’t need a spit: Roasting the lamb is just as delicious.
     
    DO YOU NEED LAMB FOR A GYRO?

    Of course not! Cuisine evolves constantly, and each cook can put his or her spin on a recipe. If you don’t like lamb, or don’t want to roast a whole leg, you can use any of the following:

  • Grilled or roasted beef, chicken or pork
  • Lamb sausage or other sausage variety
  • Grilled portobello mushrooms
  • Grilled fish fillet
  •  
    PLUS

  • Traditional condiments: lettuce, onion, tomato, tzatziki
  • Cilantro or parsley
  • Feta cheese
  • Black olives (pitted), pickles, pepperoncini
  • Shredded red cabbage or yogurt-based slaw
  • Tahini sauce (recipe)
  •    

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/lamb sausage gyro kevineats 230

    Gyros can contain any protein other than lamb lamb. Here, lamb sausage is the protein (any sausage works). Photo courtesy Kevin Eats.

     

    RECIPE: FETA-CRUSTED LAMB GYROS WITH HERBED YOGURT SAUCE

    This recipe is more layered than your typical gyro. A salty feta crust forms on the lamb with some heat from the red chili flakes. Instead of the standard tzatziki yogurt-cucumber-garlic-dill sauce, Maria makes a herbed yogurt sauce which eliminates the cucumber but adds basil, mint and parsley. (It’s also a delicious dip.)

    Maria also adds the baby potatoes to the gyro, but we prefer to serve them on the side. You can replace them with an all-American side of fries.
     
    Ingredient For 8 Servings

  • 8 pocketless whole wheat pita breads
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby arugula, washed and patted dry
  •  
    For The Lamb

  • 2-pound leg of lamb, de-boned
  • Salt and freshly-cracked pepper
  • Extra olive oil for drizzling
  • 16 bite size potatoes
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/giro stand Eaeeae Wiki 230

    A traditional lamb gyro is made from lamb roasted on a vertical spit. Photo by Eaeeae | Wikimedia.

     

    For The Feta Mixture

  • 6 ounces Greek feta, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions or shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  •  
    For The Herbed Yogurt Sauce

  • 1-1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup dill fronds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt, to taste
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 355°F (180°C). Place the lamb and potatoes in a baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

    2. PLACE all ingredients for the feta mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth and thick. Coat the lamb well with the feta mixture. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the lamb and the potatoes. Add enough water to the baking dish to just cover the base.

    3. COVER the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C). Bake for at 2 to 2-1/2 hours until the lamb is cooked through: 155°-160° on a meat thermometer for medium, 160° for well done. Because ovens vary, it is important to use a meat thermometer! Uncover and cook for a further 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

    4. COMBINE the ingredients for the yogurt sauce in a food processor and blend until all the herbs are chopped and the sauce is smooth and thick. Place in a bowl and refrigerate. When the lamb is ready…

    5. SLICE the lamb thinly. Warm the pita; if you like, you can lightly brush each side with olive oil and place the bread on a hot grill or in a grill pan for warming and grill marks.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Place some yogurt sauce in the center of the pita, arugula and slices of tomato and onion. Top with some lamb and some more yogurt sauce. Serve flat, with an optional side of roasted potatoes.

     
    Find more of Maria’s delicious recipes at Greekalicious.com.au.

      

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