What else is there to do when you ruin yet another batch of vegan meringues? Why make Vegan Mess of course! This is my take on the classic summer pudding Eton Mess, whose recipe usually calls for egg whites and whipped cream. As these two are a no-no in our animal-free kitchen I have come up with a pretty tasty alternative so you don’t have to go without this traditional english summer-time treat. I love the contrast of the juicy strawberries, with the cool, whipped cream and chewy sweet meringues. Instead of normal cream I used whipped coconut cream, which scarcely takes any more effort (providing you have a bit of notice to pop the tin the the fridge – explained below), and I’ve used vegan meringues, made with aquafaba (read here for an explanation of this crazy ingredient) to eliminate the call for egg white.
A few tips for success: This recipe is best made just before you want to serve it as some of the meringues can get slightly dissolved into the cream if they are left to sit combined for too long. It’ll still taste delicious but if possible you want the contrasting crunchy chew of meringue to remain. You can prep the strawberries, meringues and whipped cream all ahead of time and then when you want to dish up just add everything to a bowl and combine. The meringues keep really well so you can make them days in advance if needed. You must use full-fat coconut milk and it must be chilled, no short cuts or ways around it I’m afraid. It needs the fat content and the cold temperature to harden enough so that we can whip it. It’s worth the small amount of forward planning though. I only sweeten the coconut cream slightly as the meringues are so tooth-achingly sweet as it is, but feel free to add more if your tastes run on the super sweet side!
I served it in little jars as I favour individual puddings (basically I want my own private pudding that no-one can steal) and they look slightly more presentable but no-one is going to give you a hard time if you serve it piled up in the mixing bowl – it’s just living up to its name after-all!
Prep time: 30 mins (not including coconut milk chilling time)
- I small punnet strawberries
- 1 tbs + 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1/2 quantity meringues (recipe here)
- 1 tin full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- Few leaves of mint (optional)
- The night before you want to make the recipe place the can of coconut milk into the fridge.
- Prepare your strawberries by removing the green tops and slicing into equal sizes. Place in a small mixing bowl along with the tablespoon of sugar and tear up a few leaves of mint if you have them. Give everything a mix and place in the fridge until needed. You can skip this step and add freshly sliced strawberries to the cream but I find that leaving them to sit in the sugar and mint really releases their flavour.
- To make your coconut whipped cream: Take your can of coconut milk out of the fridge and open the tin. There should be a thick layer of solid coconut milk at the top – this is the stuff we want. Carefully scoop out all of the solid milk and place into a bowl (if it’s a hot day it can help to chill the bowl in the fridge beforehand) and beat it using an electric whisk until it looks thick and creamy. Add the vanilla and teaspoon of sugar and beat until combined. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- When ready to assemble add the strawberries to the whipped cream, not including any strawberry juice that may have collected at the bottom of the bowl. Gently crush the meringues a little and also add to the bowl. Carefully fold all the together until the are mostly incorporated and serve.
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