eastern mess

Sabrina Ghayour

I like to believe that Eton mess was the result of a failed attempt at strawberry pavlova, although this is probably a myth. Over the years, I have made versions using every fruit imaginable and I don't mind admitting that some were less successful than others. This eastern version is perfumed with Persian rose-water and combined with raspberries, basil and delicate pistachio slivers, which add a little crunch to every bite.

600ml double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or the seeds of a vanilla pod
2 tbsp rose-water
6 ready-made meringues, broken slightly, if large
450g raspberries
A handful of Greek basil leaves
75g pistachio nut slivers

for the raspberry sauce
225g fresh raspberries
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp rose-water
A squeeze of lemon juice

Using an electric hand whisk, whip the double cream, icing sugar, vanilla paste or seeds and rose-water together in a bowl until soft peaks form. You don't want the cream to be too loose or too stiff so keep an eye on the consistency. With the whisk on a high speed, it should take about 3 minutes.

To make the sauce, mash the raspberries with the icing sugar, rose-water and lemon juice in a bowl until completely smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds

On a large platter in individual serving dishes layer the cream mixture, meringues and raspberries drizzling on the sauce and scattering over the basil leaves and pistachios as you go. Decorate the top layer with a drizzle of sauce and a final scattering of basil and pistachios. Serve immediately.