“How many men have been beguiled and captivated by a soft voice offering them a meringue?”Barbara Cartland, The Romance of Food
This pudding is along the lines of the In The Pink Zabaglione Cake, but it’s more convenient because you can simply make it and keep it in the freezer – then just cut slices as and when you need them.
Serve ideally with chilli, nutty, caramel sauce AND Jessi’s crystal-dusted nuts. Or, less rich, with fresh fruit compote (rhubarb would be fine); or with macerated strawberries (about 230g/8 oz, hulled and halved and mixed with a little pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar) or rhubarb.
NB – make the day before and freeze, but because of the egg yolks it never becomes rock hard – a point in its favour.
How did this pudding get its name?
Some weekend guests asked me if they could bring a friend and, of course, I agreed. Molly was elderly, half deaf and blind, but incredibly game and she was also elegant, having kept her trim, pretty figure.
She was also pretty much incontinent.
But, there was nothing wrong with her sense of smell.
We were all vigilant and various deposits were quickly spotted and dealt with. Then we took her to look around a local vineyard. One minute she was inspecting the terroir, sniffing daintily around our heels, the next she’d evaporated into thin air! We patrolled the rows of vines, the hedgerows and then, with increasing foreboding, the road. We began asking dog owners we happened upon to look out for her.
And finally a helpful truffle dog routed her out of a thicket just where we’d begun our search. She marched out proudly licking her lips, leaving behind, we suspected, a small dead animal. I mentally renamed her ‘Miss Molly’ as she re-joined us holding her head rather imperiously. If a dog could raise an eyebrow and ask ‘any complaints?’ in a challenging way, Miss Molly would have at that moment.
Dinner that evening was a relieved and celebratory affair. My son and I went into the kitchen to serve out the pudding. I decided I needed a longer knife to cut the terrine, moved to cross the room and found myself slip-sliding towards the knife rack. “There’s grease on the floor”, I told my son, “can you see where it is, we should try to wipe it up”, and, obligingly, he began trudging about the flagstones looking for the shine. Unfortunately it soon became clear that what we were sliding on; and treading into the rough fissures of the floor and the corrugated soles of our shoes, was not grease but instead a generous donation from Miss Molly. When the Saucy Dressings’ Chief Taster came in to investigate the delay in the arrival of the pudding he found me on my knees excavating the uneven stone flagstones, and my son brandishing shoes in front of a couple of taps of viciously running water, both of us laughing somewhat hysterically.
So now, whenever we enjoy this marsala-filled meringue we think of Miss Molly with much affection.
Recipe for Miss Molly Melting Marsala Meringue Terrine
- 5 egg yolks and 3 egg whites
- 150g/¾ cups golden caster sugar; plus another 70g/⅓ cup
- 3 tbsps (20g) icing sugar
- 120 ml/½ cup marsala – NB – you may not need all of this
- 120 ml/½ cup double cream
- compôte or macerated berries, rhubarb or other fruit
- Preheat the oven to 140°C – use the simmering oven of a four-door aga.
- Line a rectangular baking tray (min 24 x 33 cm/10” x 13”) with greaseproof paper, and find a loaf tin which is about as long as your baking tray is wide.
- Whisk (with an electric whisk, in a completely dry metal mixing bowl) the three egg whites until they start to stiffen.
- Add about half of your 150g/¾ cups golden caster sugar, and whisk until even stiffer
- Add the rest of the 150g/¾ cups golden caster sugar and the icing sugar and whisk until quite stiff.
- Spread over the greaseproof paper and bake for two hours.
- Whisk the egg yolks and the 70g/⅓ cup golden caster sugar in a large pyrex bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water – the bowl should not touch the water.
- When the mixture has become really thick slowly add the marsala – whisk in a little at a time – the mixture MUST STAY THICK so you may not need all the marsala. Take the bowl off the saucepan and the heat.
- Whip the double cream separately until it is the same thickness as the marsala mixture, then fold into the marsala mixture.
- Line your loaf tin with cling film allowing a generous amount to wrap over the top to cover it once it’s full
- Using a very sharp knife, cut your meringue horizontally across into three fat strips
- Lay one of them in the bottom of the loaf tin.
- Spoon in half the marsala mixture and cover with the second strip of meringue.
- Spoon over the rest of the marsala mixture and cover with the third strip of meringue.
- Fold over the clingfilm and put in the freezer until the following day.
This post is dedicated to Molly, with apologies for getting carried away with my Daily Mail moment.
Music to cook to
It has to be Little Richard singing Good Golly, Miss Molly at Muhammad Ali’s 50th birthday party.