MESS MALAYSIA (Malaysian Mess)

From “Malaysia: Recipes from a family kitchen,” by Ping Coombes, published by Weldon Owen, 2017.

From “Malaysia: Recipes from a family kitchen,” by Ping Coombes, published by Weldon Owen, 2017.

I love Eton Mess and how the sweetness and crispiness of the meringue perfectly balances the tartness of the strawberries and is then mellowed by the cream. This recipe is a mix of these two delicious features, which I hope convey a sense that summer is just around the corner.

Serves 4

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For the coconut meringues

  • 4 medium free-range egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 70g unsweetened desiccated coconut

For the compote

  • 1 large ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ lemongrass stalk, bashed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 70g soft dark brown sugar

For the whipped coconut cream

  • 80ml coconut milk, chilled
  • 200ml double cream, chilled

For the garnish

  • 6 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut


  1. Start by making the meringue: whisk the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl until they form soft peaks, then whisk in half of the caster sugar, adding the rest gradually while continuously whisking, until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  2. Fold in the icing sugar and desiccated coconut.
  3. Preheat the oven to 110°c/90°c fan/230°f/Gas ¼. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment, securing them with little dots of meringue mixture at each corner, to keep the paper attached to the tray. Spoon about 12 dollops of meringue, roughly the size of tennis balls, onto the trays with a metal spoon.
  4. Transfer the trays to the oven and bake the meringues for 1½ hours.
  5. Put the cubed pineapple, star anise, bashed lemongrass and lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, until the pineapple is soft but still holds its shape. Remove from the heat and set aside. Discard the lemongrass and star anise.
  6. Toast the desiccated coconut for the garnish in a dry frying pan for 5–7 minutes, until golden brown. Tip into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  7. Using a hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk the coconut milk with the double cream until it forms soft peaks (it should still run off the spoon).
  8. Assemble the dessert in bowls or small glass tumblers: start with a layer of pineapple, then broken bits of meringue, then coconut cream. Repeat the layers. Sprinkle with toasted desiccated coconut to serve.

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