Wild Strawberry and Elderflower Meringues
Celebrate a haul of ripe and juicy wild berries by serving them with homemade meringues and elderflower-scented cream. Wild strawberries can be somewhat variable in flavour: any that aren’t quite as fragrant and sweet as they might be can be briefly macerated in a little Elderflower Cordial and, if available, some fresh elderflowers.
You could use shop-bought meringues but our homemade ones are beautifully crisp on the outside and gloriously gooey within. If you happen to have made some of our Elderflower Sugar, you can use it in the meringues, for extra elderflower effect – and, to use up the leftover egg yolks, try making our Elderflower Curd.
- 200g wild strawberries
- 4 tablespoons Elderflower Cordial
- 1 large head of elderflowers (optional), plus extra to serve
- 300ml double cream
FOR THE MERINGUES
- 3 large egg whites
- 125g caster sugar
- 50g icing sugar
- Rinse the wild strawberries and leave them to drain. Preheat the oven to 120˚C (100˚C for fan assisted).
- Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the caster sugar in tablespoonfuls, allowing each one to be incorporated before adding the next. Beat for about 5 minutes or until thick and glossy. Sift over the icing sugar and fold in gently and briefly, until just combined.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can use a little dab of meringue mixture on each corner to secure the paper to the tray). Using a large spoon, dollop the meringue mixture into six equal mounds, spaced well apart. Use the back of the spoon to create a hollow in the centre of each dollop, swirling the edges with a palette knife to give a nice shape. Bake in the preheated oven for 1½–2 hours, until crisp and dry on the outside. When they’re ready, leave them to cool in the oven with the door cracked open (this should take about an hour).
- While the meringues are cooling, macerate the berries. Put them into bowl with 1 tablespoon of the elderflower cordial. If you have an elderflower head, snip it into smallish pieces, removing as much stem as possible and add the flowers to the bowl. Toss well, cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand.
- When the meringues are cool and you’re ready to serve, pour the double cream into large bowl and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial. Using a balloon whisk, whip the cream to soft floppy peaks (you can use an electric whisk, but there is the danger of overbeating the cream, and you’ll end up with a stiff and grainy texture).
- To serve, put each meringue on a dessert plate and put a generous dollop of elderflower cream on top. Mound the berries on top, drizzle over any juices that may have accumulated in the berry bowl. Serve scattered with elderflowers (picked carefully to remove any stem), if you like.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK