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Frozen berries for Eton Mess?

I'm cooking for dinner-theatre, three week season with 130 covers per night. I have my heart set on Eton Mess for dessert (it's appropriate for the show, easy to prep and a great crowd-pleaser!). BUT the season is in July which is mid-winter here in NZ so I have to rely on frozen berries. Most will be mushed up but I want some decent chunks of fruit in the main body of the dessert, as well as some whole or halved berries to decorate. I've only ever used frozen berries for coulis-type beasts. How well will they hold up for decoration??

asked by Robert Hickey 3 months ago
5 answers 304 views
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Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Frozen berries bleed a lot when defrosted.
Might be ok (but messy) for the body of the Eton Mess but terrible as garnish.
I have recently eaten dried sliced strawberries that were good. Maybe you can find some of those.
Or pick a more seasonal dessert.
Good luck and please tell us what you choose.

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added 3 months ago

Dried strawbs as a crumbled topping could be fun - might go with that and a berry flavoured tuille wafer!

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added 3 months ago

I use frozen berries often for Eton Mess, but then I am not a purist when cooking. They are liquidy and I usually reduce them with a liqueur - something similar to this https://www.bbcgoodfood...
For the garnish they are really too soft so I suggest either seeing if you can find some fresh berries, toasted almond slivers finely sliced, pomegranate seeds or a scattering of crunchy caramel topping. Yes, it isn't exactly Eton Mess by the book but it will be delicious anyway!

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added 3 months ago

Food purists tend to be lacking in adventure. I don't think I've mindlessly followed a recipe in the last thirty years! Pomegranate seeds are an excellent suggestion - thank you!

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PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.

added 3 months ago

I think the idea for the filling would be fine (perhaps enhanced with a bit of citrus for brightness), and for the garnish, the idea of dried fruit sounds fine. Taken a step further, you can break down freeze-dried fruit in a food processor or coffee grinder and dust it on with a small sieve. It gives a great burst of color and flavor without resorting to fresh fruit.

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