Photograph by Johnny Miller Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis
I AM LOVE (2009)

Eton Mess with Fresh Berries

Desserts from Issue 3 – Spring / Summer 2013 – Rough Cut

Emma Recchi’s affair in the exquisitely beautiful I am Love is twofold—she is sleeping with her son’s talented chef friend Antonio, but is equally enamored with the sublime food he cooks for her. Things get, predictably, out of control, and our lovingly disheveled Eton Mess made with crumbled meringue, cream, and an assortment of ripe berries (after one passionate alfresco romp Emma lets the juices from a fresh-picked bunch seep through her fingers), honors that.

serves 4

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 5 cups mixed berries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream

  • 1

    Preheat the oven to 200°F. Split vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds to a mixing bowl along with egg whites and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Increase to medium-high and very slowly, while continuing to beat, add the sugar in a gentle, steady stream. When all the sugar has been added, increase to high and continue to beat until whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.

  • 2

    Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment. Dollop the meringue into four even rounds about 1-inch thick. Bake two hours. Don’t open the oven. Turn it off and let meringues cool inside, 2 hours or overnight.

  • 3

    Just before serving, place the berries and sugar in a bowl and mash lightly with a fork. Let stand about 15 minutes. Whip the cream just until it holds soft peaks.

  • 4

    Break meringues into pieces and layer with berries and their juices and cream. Save a bit of meringue to crumble on top. Serve immediately.