Melba Mess


Here’s my slant on another classic English summer dish. The addition of redcurrants to this adds a sharper edge and stops it becoming too sweet. It’s easy to be creative with this one, just change the fruits to use whatever is available at the time.

Serves 4-6





4 meringue nests
300ml double cream
3-4 peaches or nectarines
150-200g raspberries
50-100g redcurrants (optional)
25g caster sugar

a large serving bowl or 4-6 individual dishes

How to make it

  • Place about half the raspberries and half the redcurrants in a small pan with the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves and the juices have run from the fruit. Tip in to a sieve over a small bowl and push the sauce through the sieve using the back of a spoon, leaving only the seeds behind. Set aside to cool.
  • Prepare the peaches, slice around the stone following the natural line and twist each half in opposite directions to remove from the stone (some will do this more easily than others). Peel if you prefer, and chop into approx 1cm pieces.
  • Prepare the raspberries, reserve a few for decoration, and crush the remaining with a fork.
  • In a large bowl whip the cream to the soft peak stage.
  • To serve, crush the meringue nests and add to the whipped cream. Add the chopped peaches and crushed raspberries, and fold together.
  • Spoon into serving dishes and top with reserved raspberries and redcurrants. Drizzle over the sauce you made earlier and serve any leftover sauce in a jug.

The great thing about this dessert is you don’t have to be very precise, if you like it really creamy increase the proportion of cream, if you want it really sweet, add more meringues, and it’s really easy to scale up or down to suit the number of portions you need.

Note: This can be made in advance, but be aware that the meringue will dissolve into the cream mixture over time and you will lose the crunchy texture.

If you want to be more adventurous, you can make your own meringues. There are lots of recipes out there, here is a very basic one:


4 medium egg whites at room temperature
1 tsp white wine vinegar (optional)
200g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 110C/Gas ¼ /fan oven 100C

  • Tip the egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl (with the vinegar if using). Beat with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.
  • Add the caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and spoon large blobs of the meringue mix, spaced well apart using a couple of dessert spoons.
  • Dry out in the oven for 1 ½-2 hours.  Allow to cool.



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