This pandan mousse with meringue, English strawberries and mint is an exotic variation of the traditional Eton Mess. Taste the strawberries beforehand – if they are a little tart or need more flavour, cut them, sprinkle over some caster sugar and macerate for 15–30 minutes. Pandan essence may be hard to find but you can make your own by blending fresh pandan leaves with a touch of coconut milk or water. If you’re tight for time, use shop-bought meringues.
1 tsp pandan essence (available from Asian supermarkets or online)
200ml double cream
For the meringue
190g egg whites
190g caster sugar
150g icing sugar
Punnet of best-quality English strawberries, stems removed and quartered
Bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely sliced
Soften the gelatine sheets in a bowl of ice-cold water.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl or electric mixer until creamy. Mix together the coconut milk and pandan essence in a small saucepan and heat until simmering.
Gradually whisk the coconut milk mixture into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, then pour back into the pan and gently heat to 83C, stirring constantly. You’re aiming for a custard texture so keep the heat low and the mixture moving constantly. Transfer the custard to a bowl. Drain the gelatine sheets and squeeze out excess water, then whisk into the custard. Set the bowl over an ice-bath to cool, stirring occasionally, until the custard reaches 35C or is cool to the touch. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold through the custard. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill for at least six hours.
If making the meringue, preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/Gas 1. Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until foamy. Combine the sugars and pass through a fine sieve to remove any lumps, then gradually add to the egg whites while whisking. Keep whisking until the meringue is glossy and will form firm peaks.
Spread the meringue on a baking tray lined with a silicone baking mat or baking parchment (not greaseproof paper or foil as meringue can stick to this), to a thickness of 4–5mm.
Bake for one and a half hours, then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven overnight, to continue cooking in the heat of the oven as it cools.
To serve, scoop a portion of mousse into each bowl. Place strawberries on top, then roughly broken meringue and a scattering of fresh mint.
Recipe from Makan: Recipes from the Heart of Singapore by Elizabeth Haigh (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26). Order a copy from books.telegraph.co.uk.