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Four for the 4th

Virginia Egg Council suggests this quartet for the occasion

By Mary Rapoport

Eton Mess is a terrific recipe that’s super easy — need to make meringues first (cooking 101) then you fold crushed meringues, whipped cream and macerated strawberries together and it’s amazing! Plus, you can top with a few blueberries and stick a flag in it and it’s the 4th of July!

Eton Mess

This traditional spring and summer dessert from Britain is named after Eton, a prestigious school in Cambridge, where they celebrate the beginning of spring by enjoying the dessert. It has only three ingredients — strawberries, meringues and whipped cream, that are sort of just tossed together (that’s a lie — some folks actually layer the ingredients), which ends up looking like just that — a mess. But it’s totally delicious and we’re giving you two versions: The standard recipe which uses Heavy whipping cream (that’s totally a British thing), and a way-less fat version, using non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt. You can sweeten the yogurt and add a bit of vanilla. Sometimes you can find meringue cookies in your local market and in bakeries, but can easily make your own. Don’t mess around — make this simple and luscious dessert that’ll please your fussiest guests.

Meringues

3 egg whites

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

¾ cup sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until thick.

Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating all the while, until it becomes stiff and pure white.

Rub a bit between fingers — if you feel sugar, beat some more. Fold in vanilla.

Dollop out onto parchment covered baking sheet. It’ll make 6 to 8 depending how large you make them.

If using for meringues, with back of spoon, form a ridge around the meringue.

Bake in preheated 225° oven for about 1-¼ hr. Turn off oven and let sit until oven is very cold — several hours or overnight. Store in tins. Enough for two batches of Eton Mess

Strawberries

1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped

2 tablespoons (or less) sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice or fruit liqueur

Combine ingredients. Let sit in bowl for several hours, macerating.

Set aside about ½ cup berries for garnish.

Cream Mixture

1 cup Heavy whipping cream, whipped (some sweeten this with 1 tablespoons powdered sugar)

OR

2 cups Plain Non-fat or Low-fat Greek yogurt (sweetener and vanilla extract may be added to taste)

Making the Mess

Break apart about half the meringues (about 4 cups) and place in a large bowl. Save remaining in the tin for another batch.

Add the strawberries and any juice that has formed and the whipped cream or yogurt.

Gently fold the mess together until blended.

Fill dessert glasses. Garnish with set-aside strawberries and a mint sprig.

Enjoy right away or refrigerate and enjoy within a few hours.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

 

Anyone who likes blueberry muffins or pancakes is going to love this easy and convenient for breakfast casserole that’s perfect for overnight guests. — Courtesy Virginia Egg Council

The Blueberry Stuffed Brunch Puff is perfect for summer. I sometimes toss in raspberries and, again, stick an American flag in it when you serve this do-ahead brunch dish for the 4th.

Blueberry Stuffed Brunch Puff

This is one of the Virginia Egg Council’s top favorite do-ahead breakfast casseroles. Unlike the traditional cheese/sausage or French toast do-ahead recipes — this uses summertime fresh (or winter frozen) blueberries — anyone who likes blueberry muffins or pancakes is going to love this easy and convenient for breakfast casserole that’s perfect for overnight guests. Prep the evening before and refrigerate. Pop in the oven in the morning and bake as the coffee brews, the bacon sizzles and the fruit gets cut.

Makes 12 servings. Can be halved and baked in a 9×9” baking pan

1 pound 3 ounces fresh Old-fashioned white bread

8 ounces. light cream cheese, cut into ½” cubes

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 tablespoons orange zest or 1 tsp. orange flavoring

12 eggs

2 cups skim (or 2 percent) milk

½ cup pure maple syrup or regular syrup and 1 tsp. maple flavoring

½ tsp. blueberry flavoring

Remove crusts and cube bread. Place half bread cubes on bottom of spray coated 9×13” casserole dish. Scatter cream cheese, blueberries and orange zest (if using zest) over bread.

Place remaining bread over blueberries.

Mix together eggs, milk, maple syrup and flavorings in a blender; pour evenly over entire pan.

Cover and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours or overnight.

Bake, covered with foil, at 350°F for 30 min. Uncover, bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until puffed, browned, firm and thoroughly cooked. Serve with maple syrup or the following:

Blueberry Syrup (makes about 2 cups — can be doubled and leftovers refrigerated)

1-½ cups sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1-½ cups water

¾ cups blueberries

½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or lemon flavoring)

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Thoroughly blend sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir in water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture boils, thickens and turns clear, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Stir in blueberries and simmer until berries burst. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice or flavoring and butter. Serve hot. Sauce may be made ahead and micro-heated. Leftovers are fabulous over cheesecake or ice cream!

 

The Potato Salad Deviled Eggs are perfect for that 4th of July picnic or virtual or social-distanced pot luck — the potatoes makes them super hearty … and super easy and delish. — Courtesy Virginia Egg Council

Potato Salad Deviled Eggs with Bacon

The Potato Salad Deviled Eggs are perfect for that 4th of July picnic or virtual or social-distanced pot luck — the potatoes makes them super hearty — I use canned, cut-up cooked potatoes — super easy and delish.

12 hard-boiled eggs

1 cup finely diced cooked potato

½ cup ranch dressing

1 tsp. prepared mustard

2 tbsp. cooked, crumbled bacon

Peel eggs. Cut lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to a small bowl or zip-top bag. Place whites in a deviled egg dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Mash yolks with a fork (in the bowl) or with hands on the outside of the bag. Add potato, dressing and mustard and combine well. Refrigerate to blend flavors.

When ready to serve, either spoon 1 heaping tablespoon yolk mixture into each egg white half or squeeze mixture to the corner of the bag and snip off the corner with scissors and pipe into egg whites.

Garnish with bacon.

Makes 24 deviled eggs.

Tips:

When in a rush, purchase already hard-boiled and peeled eggs; cooked and sliced canned potatoes (cut into small pieces); and precooked and crumbled bacon.

Go to www.virginiaeggcouncil.org and see how easy it is to peel hard boiled eggs when cooked the new way — by steaming them!

 

A Pavlova is a giant meringue, filled with fruit, and in this case berries for the 4th. — Courtesy Virginia Egg Council

Spectacular Pavlova

4 large egg whites

½ tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

¾ tsp. vanilla extract (use your best)

Preheat oven to 225°. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.

In a small mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy.

Add sugar, two tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved (rub a bit between fingers to test) and whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. Fold in vanilla.

Draw a 9 to 10” circle on parchment. Spoon meringue into circle, spreading across center, but building a rim along the outside with the back of a spoon.

Bake about 1 to 1-½ hrs. It’ll be light -golden in color.

Turn off oven. Let stand in oven with door closed until cool, dry and crisp, at least 1 additional hour.

Store in airtight tin, if not eating right away. Serves 8

To serve:

Fill with 2 cups whipping cream, whipped, with ¼ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon. vanilla extract or Almond Cream Filling. Top with 2 to 4 cups cut up fruit (peaches, kiwi, mango, star fruit) or a mixture of berries. Dust with powdered sugar and present with sparklers on top for a wow factor! Serve with Crème Anglaise, if desired.

Almond Cream Filling

Combine 1/3 sugar, dash salt, 2 tablespoons flour in small pan. Combine ½ cup milk with 2 egg yolks and add to pan to make a paste. Add 1-½ cups more milk and heat until it thickens and boils one minute. Remove from heat. Add ½ teaspoon, each vanilla and almond extracts. Cover with plastic and chill.

MARY RAPOPORT is the director of Consumer Affairs for the Virginia Egg Council. Contact her at 540-345-3958 or eggsrgr8@rev.net.