Peach Melba Eton Mess is a combination of two classic desserts this recipe uses vegan meringues made with aquafaba but you can also use regular meringues if you prefer beacuse this dessert itself is not suitable for vegans.
A while ago I came across the wonder of 'Aquafaba'. I suspect most people will have come across this modern day miracle by now, but just in case anybody hasn't heard of it, Aquafaba is the liquid found in tinned beans, used to make egg free bakes!
Yes, egg free! So anything from meringues to brownies and cookies and even royal icing to pasta! Who ever made this discovery is a genius, and I doff my cap to them! Clearly such a massive break through for vegan bakes & cooking.
Now, althoughwe are not vegan, aquafaba has been on my 'to bake' list from the very moment I heard about it. Everything I've read about aquafaba suggests that the go-to liquid is from chickpeas, closely followed by white beans. Not being a lover of chickpeas, I used the liquid from butter beans.
And you know what, it works! It really works! The aquafaba whipped up into a meringue easily, though it did take a little longer than using conventional egg whites. The mixture baked like an egg based meringue and it tasted, not like beans, but like meringue! The same chewy, marshmallow type texture you can achieve with meringue. Mmm, yum!
Now, I'm not an expert regarding aquafaba, so if you'd like to learn more and find some more fabulous recipes using this usually thrown away liquid, then have a look at these webpages:
- The Vegan Society, 13 amazing things you can do with Aquafaba
- Aquafaba.com, the official aquafaba web page!
I made an Eton Mess, Peach Melba style with my aquafaba meringues. OK, it's not vegan but I just wanted to play around with the aquafaba. It was scrummy; the sharpness of the raspberries cutting through the richness of the cream, teamed with the flesh of the peach and texture of the meringue was mmm, lovely!
I had intended to included some shredded basil leaves in the mixture (knowing how good basil works with peaches), but it completely slipped my mind and said basil leaves are still waiting patiently to be used!
I'll openly admit, I'm not a massive lover of cream, though, personally, I do find chantilly cream much more acceptable (as I used in my chocolate éclairs), so that's what I used here. And this Peach Melba style Eton Mess was far more than just 'acceptable', let me tell you!
One recommendation though, once I'd assembled the 'Eton Mess', (yes I know 'assembled', it's a 'chuck it all in and mix sort of recipe') and then messed around taking photos for half an hour, I found the meringue seemed to have had largely dissolved. So, firstly avoid crumbling your meringues too small, trying to keep some slightly larger pieces; and secondly assemble the Eton Mess just before you want to serve the dessert. It only takes a moment if all of the elements are ready.
So lets get to it and bake!
Peach Melba 'Eton Mess', with Aquafaba
Time: hands on time 15 minutes; plus 90 minutes bake time and 90 minutes cooling time.
You will need:
1 x Large Baking Tray
Stand Mixer or Hand Held Electric Mixer
For the Aquafaba
Water from 1 x 215g (net weight) tin of beans, I used Butter Beans (ensure it's salt free!)
60g Icing Sugar, sieved
For The Peach Melba Flavours
250g Fresh Raspberries
1- 1.5 tbsp. Icing Sugar
2 - 3 tbsp. Water
2 - 3 small Basil Leaves finely hand shredded (optional)
300 ml Double Cream
1 capful of Vanilla Extract.
2 tsp Icing Sugar
How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 110c / Fan 90c
2. Line your baking tray with greaseproof paper, tacking the corners down with a little margarine.
3. Make the meringue. Drain the water from the tinned beans into a bowl and beat until firm. Slowly add the icing sugar, beating well after each addition. You should end up with a thick glossy mixture. It will take a little longer than a traditional egg white meringue. Add a little more icing sugar if you feel it's not thick enough. Use a teaspoon to drop 'blobs' of the meringue mixture onto the baking tray. Place in the oven for 90 minutes. After the baking period has ended, turn the oven off, DO NOT open the oven door, allowing the meringues to cool slowly in the oven. Remove the meringues after at least 90 minutes.
4. Make the raspberry coulis. Place a third to half of the raspberries into a small pan with the tablespoon of icing sugar and water. Mix. Place over a low heat and allow to cook. Once the raspberries have broken down, pass the raspberry coulis through a sieve to remove the seeds.
5. Whip the cream. Place the cream, vanilla extract & 2 teaspoons of icing sugar into a good sized bowl and whisk, ideally with a balloon or egg whisk, to avoid over beating.
6. Prepare the peaches. Halve the peaches with a sharp knife carefully and slice each half into 4. Set 4 slices aside for decoration, chopping the remaining peach into chunks.
7. Assemble. Set aside 12 raspberries for decoration (3 per portion). Place the remaining raspberries, peach chunks & torn basil leaves (if using) into the cream. Gently combine with a spatula. Crumble the meringue into the cream (not too small and aiming to leave some slightly larger pieces) & gently mix again. Pour half of the strained coulis into the cream mixture & stir gently to create a rippled effect. Decant the Eton Mess into 4 glasses, top with the peach slice and remaining raspberries.