Lottie is our vegan chef at MoaAlm Mountain Retreat. She has a passion for wild and foraged foods and her travels across the world serve as inspiration for many of her dishes. For the start of summer, she inspires us with her favourite dessert from her home country Great Britain.
It may sound strange for an English person to say they miss the taste of home – but English summertime desserts are particularly special. Historically, they make the most of the amazing wild foods we have in Britain, and my favourite for the month of June – Eton Mess.
For those of you who don’t know, Eton Mess is a traditional summer dessert made with strawberries, cream and meringue. ‘That doesn’t sound very vegan’, I hear you say. You are right, it is probably one of the most difficult desserts to ‘veganise’. Usually I am not much of a fan of ‘veganising’ food. But for this dessert I make an exception, because of the wonderful, magical liquid that most of us throw away. You guessed it – aquafaba.
Aquafaba is the liquid leftover when you cook chickpeas, or indeed, the liquid that is contained within a tin of beans or chickpeas that you buy from the supermarket. It is high in protein, and just like egg whites, can be whipped to produce the stiff peaks that we call meringue.
June and July are especially beautiful months here at MoaAlm. Our guests walk with our hiking guides through rich meadows, to alpine peaks, where wild foods, fed by the snow melt from the winter, emerge into the summer sunshine. In June the wild strawberries begin to appear. They are much smaller than the cultivated strawberries you may buy at the supermarket, but are deliciously sweet, and deliciously free!
So let's make the most of this delicious wild berries, satisfy my cravings for home, and give ourselves a challenge. Vegan Eton Mess!
60g caster sugar
⅛ teaspoon lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
⅛ teaspoon rosewater
I was intimidated by aquafaba for a LONG time. But really these vegan meringues are very simple. If at first you don't succeed, please try again! It's totally worth it! Watch the video below by the brilliant minimalist baker to find out how to make your meringues.
Top tips from me:
Macerate your wild alpine berries
100g caster sugar
Peel of lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla essence
10 whole black peppercorns
10 crushed cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 tsp rosewater
1 tbsp lemon juice
There are many options for vegan cream depending on your budget and skill level. I would recommend that for this recipe, keep it simple. Buy a non-dairy whipping cream. The Oatley whipping cream is great here.
Traditionally Eton Mess is served in a glass with the meringue, cream and strawberries mixed together. I prefer a more refined dinner party presentation, but it’s really up to you how you serve this delicious dessert.
Pop a small blob of cream in the plate centre. This will hold the meringue in place as you carry it to the table. Stick the meringue on top of your blob of cream and heap a tablespoon of cream into the centre of your meringue. Take your strawberries and stick them lengthways into the cream in a spiral shape. Finish with a drizzle of macerating syrup and wild flowers for decoration.
We would love to see your efforts to create Vegan Eton Mess. Leave us a comment below or tag us in your photos @moaalmretreat
We are one of the only hike and yoga retreats in the alps offering a fully vegan experience. Why not join us this summer to experience our amazing vegan holiday in the Austrian Alps?