I am currently enjoying my first British summer. This is my third July in the UK, but lets face it the last two summers were completely rubbish. The best bit about this weather is that it finally feels like barbecue (or braai) season. As a South African, cooking meat outdoors over a flame is a deeply engrained cultural pastime. One bordering on religious fanaticism. I would dearly love to share some of the amazing meals we enjoy with you, but unfortunately braaing (or barbecuing) is strictly “men’s work.” Now as liberated and enlightened my BH is in every other aspect, I have more chance of spontaneously combusting then I do of being given charge of the Braai (Barbecue) tongs.
My job in this summer performance is to prepare salads and dessert. That’s it. That’s all us women get and surprisingly, none of us complain. Weird, huh?
So that’s why this is yet another sweet post and why there will probably be a few more in the next couple of days. Well that’s my story at least and I’m sticking to it. Anyway in weather like this, you need something cool and refreshing and that requires minimal time in the kitchen. Fruit salad is always a winner and here it’s dressed in a honey, lime and mint dressing served with meringue nests and chantilly cream.
- 5 egg whites
- 250gm caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional, but so yummy)
- A mix of your favourite fruit, I used grapes, strawberries, mangoes, blueberries and pineapple
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 2 limes
- 2 Tbs of honey
- 200 mls double cream
- caster sugar to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and always ensure the sugar is completely incorporated before adding the next tablespoon of sugar. Continue whisking until your mixture resembles the one above and then fold in the vanilla bean paste.
Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and then using a star tipped nozzle and a piping bag, pipe your nests onto the paper. Place in the oven and bake for two hours. This should produce a relatively robust meringue that still has a squishy inside.
Now get on with your fruit salad. To make the dressing, squeeze the limes getting as much juice as you can from them. The vitamin C in the juice will prevent your fruit from browning.
Once your nests are ready, allow them to cool. Once they are cool, make the chantilly cream by adding the vanilla and sugar to the cream and beating it until it holds its shape. Then assemble by topping the meringue with cream and fruit salad. Enjoy.