Firstly, it looks impressive. Secondly, you can eat the bowl!! It’s an Eton Mess with a festive twist with strawberries, pomegranates and passion fruit, but you can use whichever fruit you can forage in your fridge. It’s not too expensive and when mixing sugar/cream/fruit you can’t really mess it up either…the combination is inevitably tasty. The chocolate bowl looks excellent as a centerpiece and you can appear far more skilled at cooking than you may be. Enjoy and don’t freak out if any of it goes wrong…abuse the word ‘mess’ in the title!
You will need:
- 2 Big bars of chocolate. Dark/milk/white/whatever you fancy.
- 500ml Double Cream.
- 500 grams Strawberries.
- 1 Pomegranate plus the juice of the fruit. (Or pomegranate/cranberry/a red juice).
- 1 Passion Fruit.
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar.
- Meringues, as many as you can get your hands on. Or however sweet you like your Eton Mess.
- A roll of tin foil.
- A medium size bowl.
- Saucepan/glass bowl.
- Some pretty Christmas decorations.
What you’ll need to do-
Chop the strawberries and leave to marinade in the juice of the pomegranate and caster sugar.
Make a bain-marie, (pronounced bah-marie if you want to impress your friends..) which is basically using shallow pan of boiling water and placing a heat-proof glass bowl over the top. Turn the water down to a medium temperature and slowly melt the chocolate in the bowl. Make sure to keep stirring as to not burn the chocolate, and make sure you don’t get any water in with the chocolate because it totally screws up the melting process.
While the chocolate is cooling, line the bowl with tin foil. Make sure the tin foil is as flat and smooth as possible – too many creases means the chocolate will set around them and potentially crack and collapse when you try and get it off. Which can be tragic after waiting for it to set!
Brush the melted chocolate over the foil as evenly as possible. It’s always going to be thicker at the bottom due to gravity, but make sure to build up the walls and the side as you need the bowl to be substantial. Put in the fridge and wait to set for at least 3 hours, or, in the freezer if you need it quick-step.
Whip the double cream until thick but still soft. You can use an electric whisk, a food processer, or by hand if you fancy a workout.
Roughly crumble 4 or so meringue nests into the cream. You can go pretty freestyle here – if you like a chunky mess, then don’t crumble too much. However, if you prefer a finer pudding, then crumble it to a fine dust. I like to mix it up and have a variety of big chunky pieces of meringue and a sugary dust. Make sure you save some meringue for decorating afterwards and sprinkling over the top.
Gently fold in the chopped strawberries and pomegranates along with the sugary strawberry/pomegranate juice. Again, save some fruit until the end for final touches.
Now for the delicate bit.. Making sure your chocolate bowl is completely set, gently peel away the tin foil. Be careful not to get carried away and crack the chocolate, but at the same time don’t panic if a few pieces fall away, you can use these broken pieces as decoration. (If you have a complete disaster and the bowl collapses then serve the final pudding in pretty bowl and use the crumbled chocolate as elaborate decoration on top. Tell your guests it was meant to be like that.
Gently empty the creamy meringue mess into the chocolate bowl. Then sprinkle the excess strawberries/pomegranates/meringue on top. Scoop out the passion fruit and muddle this on top too. Think of the meringue dust as snow and be as festive as possible! I’ve added a few chocolate snowmen and reindeers. However if you’re cooler and more sophisticated than this, then just go with the snow and chocolate bowl as a centre piece. Voila!