August 10, 2012


eton mess

I saw a recipe in a recent magazine, I forget which one, for a really nice looking pavlova-style dessert using strawberries and orange curd.

I love the combination of strawberries and orange but, I have to confess, I have never made a pavlova in my life.  In fact I have never made meringues other than the sort you put on top of a lemon meringue pie.

I did once come close to making a pavlova.  It was to be made for the party we had at home to celebrate my parents’ retirement in the early nineties.  In the end we ran out of time and we bought a frozen one from the supermarket.  However, it very nearly didn’t make it home as we fetched it on Nick’s motorcycle.  This was in the days when we only had one car but several motorcycles and if we nipped anywhere for anything we would invariably jump on a bike.  On this occasion we were two up on his lovely comfy old Yamaha.  I carried a rucksack on my back for the other bits and pieces we bought and Nick very carefully bungeed the box containing the pavlova onto the rack above the back wheel. 

Unfortunately, although he is world champion at bungeeing anything onto his bike, this time he was a little too cautious, fastening it very gently so as not to crush it, and as we exited the roundabout by the supermarket it came loose and fell off !!

Luckily I heard the slight bump as it hit the tarmac and we were able to recover it as it was narrowly missed by passing traffic.  We inspected it when we got it home and it was rather a sorry sight but we glued it back together with whipped cream and nobody noticed !!

At that time I had never heard of Eton mess !!

Anyway, I used the idea behind the recipe in the magazine to make a quick, easy and delicious pud.

For each person:

1 shop bought meringue nest

1 dessertspoon of orange curd

2 tablespoons of crème fraîche, or natural yoghurt, whipped cream or similar

a handful of strawberries, washed and hulled

a teaspoon of grated orange rind


Break the meringue into chunks and put in a bowl with the crème fraîche, orange curd and most of the strawberries.  Mix together.  Spoon into a dessert bowl or glass, place the last few berries on top and sprinkle the orange rind over.

It doesn’t look as posh as the real pavlova in the recipe, orange curd, strawberries and whipped cream layered beautifully and the whole thing languishing on a pretty plate and a lace tablecloth.  But it’s super-quick and very yummy.


  1. Ha ha, flying pavlova, glad it was still edible. This recipe sounds very yummy. Diane

    1. Diane, we were lucky, the wheels of a large lorry just missed it !!

  2. I love making meringues and I recommend it as an activity - I find it oddly soothing. I like that idea of orange (especially the orange curd) with strawberries - I must try that. I was once in a convoy on the way to a birthday party when, just as we approached a very sharp bend, I realised that someone had accidentally left the birthday cake on the roof of the car in front. It didn't end well.

    1. Phil, meringues are on my bucket list, a bit like scones were. Now I've mastered them meringues are at the top of the list.
      Shame about the birthday cake. When it goes splat on the tarmac there's not much you can do with it I expect !!

  3. Love the story! Great save and if it happens again you can call it an Eton mess :) Love the combination of straberries and orange - yum!

    1. More like Morrisons roundabout mess !!!!

  4. this does sound good. I have only ever made one pavlova (despite it being invented in NZ) - and it was a disaster. It fluffed up nicely in the oven but the moment I opened the oven door it collapsed into a sticky little mess... sigh - so buying a pre-made one sounds like the way to go.

    Have a great week.