Welcome one of my favorite people, Hannah Dennison.
In addition to being an excellent author, Hannah has done a variety of jobs. She wrote obituaries, worked in an antique shop, was secretary to a Formula One World Champion, a hostess in a nightclub, a flight attendant, and an assistant at New Line Cinema. To read more about the adventures of “Hannah,” check out her darling biography on her website.
Take it away, Hannah!
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It’s such an honor to be invited to be today’s guest on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Thank you! Alas, unlike many of my fellow authors’ protagonists, my amateur sleuth, aspiring investigative reporter Vicky Hill, has no prowess in the kitchen.
As the reluctant obituary reporter for the Gipping Gazette, Vicky has more experience in eating traditional English fare like Dundee fruitcake and Victoria Sponge at post-funeral shindigs. And when she’s not solving murders in the English market town of Gipping-on-Plym, you’ll find her at various Women’s Institute meetings helping judge the Bottled Jam Boil-Off or sampling the Best British Pudding.
Speaking of puddings (yes, the Brits call dessert “pudding”), I want to share my absolute favorite. In fact it was on the menu at my wedding. It’s super easy to make and very fast, especially if you don’t have time to make your own meringues.
Eton Mess has been around since the 19th century. It’s traditionally served at Eton College’s annual prize-giving celebration picnic on the “Fourth of June” (actually celebrated on the last Wednesday in May). There is a rumor that the dish was created by an over-excited Labrador who sat on a picnic basket. No doubt this anecdote will join the annals of the great-unsolved mysteries of the world.
Ingredients to Serve 8
1 basic meringue recipe or 8 meringue, store bought shells
1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds removed
2 heaped tablespoons of superfine sugar (caster sugar in UK)
9 oz strawberries hulled and sliced
9 oz raspberries
1 pint of double cream
1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar
Handful of toasted flaked almonds
Whip the double cream with the vanilla seeds and 1 tablespoon of sugar until you have soft peaks. Don’t over-whip or the cream will go thick and cloddy.
Take half the strawberries and half the raspberries and put them into a bowl with the rest of the sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Mash up with fork.
Put flavored cream and mashed up fruit (not together yet) into the fridge until meringues —if you are bravely making your own—have cooled down.
Break up your meringues into a bowl.
Fold the vanilla cream and mashed-up fruit together till well mixed.
Layer into serving dish or glasses and sprinkle with toasted almonds.
*Put this together right at the last minute so the meringue doesn’t go soft.
6 large egg whites
10 ½ oz superfine sugar (not granulated)
A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 300 F. Line baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Whisk egg whites in the bowl on medium speed until they form firm peaks.
With mixer still turning, gradually add the sugar.
Turn whisk on high for about 7 minutes until the meringue mixture is white and glossy. If it’s grainy to the touch, then whisk a little longer.
Dollop blobs of the mixture onto the baking tray and pop in the oven for about an hour.
The meringues should be crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle.
Thank you, Hannah. What a fun recipe. And what a delight to have yet another Vicky Hill mystery to enjoy. I adore Vicky and I'm sure our readers will, too.
Visit Hannah at her website.