Why It Works
- Macerating the fruit with the herbs brings out and intensifies their flavors.
- Adding the fruit to the meringue cookies just before serving helps reduce sogginess.
- Zesting the lime directly into the compote ensures volatile oils aren't lost on your cutting board.
Inspired by the Eton mess—a classic English dessert consisting of meringue, whipped cream, and strawberries—this vegan version features aquafaba meringue cookies served with ripe strawberries macerated in a fragrant mixture of fresh lime, mint, and Thai basil. Although this recipe skips out on the traditional whipped cream, feel free to add a scoop of your favorite dairy or dairy-free variety.
The meringues are prepared from aquafaba, the cooking liquid for chickpeas, which is whisked with cream of tartar and sugar to produce a stable and airy foam that, when portioned and baked, produces white, satiny pillows that immediately melt in your mouth. However, since aquafaba meringue can have a rather strong “beany” aroma, I chose to tweak the traditional macerated strawberry topping, adding very aromatic ingredients like mint and Thai basil to cover it up. Using both lime juice and zest in the compote also adds to the flavors and helps provide some needed brightness to offset the sweetness of the dessert.
Once you mix the berries with the meringue cookies, make sure to serve and enjoy immediately to prevent the liquids from dissolving the cookies.
- For the Strawberry Compote:
- 1 pound (450g) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
- 12 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 12 fresh Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon (12g) sugar
- Zest of 1 lime (do not zest until called for in recipe step)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
- For Serving:
- 1 recipe Aquafaba Cardamom Meringue Cookies
For the Strawberry Compote: In a medium mixing bowl, combine strawberries with mint, Thai basil, and sugar.
Using a zester, zest the peel of 1 lime directly over the strawberries (this will ensure volatile oils from the lime peel get into the strawberries and won't be lost on your cutting board).
Add lime juice to the strawberries, mix well, then let stand for at least 5 and up to 10 minutes.
For Serving: When ready to serve, crumble the meringues into bite-size pieces and divide among 4 serving bowls. Top each with the strawberry compote and serve immediately.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The dessert is best prepared and assembled right before serving.