Hellenic Mess

A Greek take on a classic dessert.

How long will it take?

30 minute prep • 3 hours cooking

What’s the serving size?

8 serves

What do I need?

  • 1½ cups (375 ml) thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • ½ cup (40 g) flaked almonds, toasted


  • 240 g caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp rosewater

Orange blossom jelly

  • 200 ml orange blossom water
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 5 gelatine leaves (gold strength)

Strawberry sauce

  • 250 g strawberries, washed and hulled
  • ½ cup (110 g) caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp ouzo

How do I make it?

  1. To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 200°C (fan-forced) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Spread the sugar evenly over the prepared tray and place in the oven for 8 minutes or until the sugar starts to dissolve around the edges. When the sugar is nearly ready, start to whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until the whites begin to froth. Carefully add the hot sugar and the rosewater and whisk for a further 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C (fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread the meringue over the prepared tray, then transfer to the oven and bake for 3 hours. Remove and allow to cool completely, then break into bite-sized chunks.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the jelly, place all the ingredients and 200 ml water in a small saucepan and allow to sit for 2 minutes so the gelatine leaves soften. Stir over medium heat until the sugar and gelatine have dissolved, then pour into a suitable container and place in the fridge to set. This will take at least 2–3 hours.
  4. For the strawberry sauce, blitz the strawberries in a food processor, then pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and ouzo stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Store in the fridge until needed.
  5. Shortly before you are ready to serve, whip the cream and vanilla seeds until firm peaks form.
  6. Layer the chunks of meringue, jelly and dollops of whipped cream in a serving dish. At the last minute, drizzle over the strawberry sauce and finish with a sprinkling of flaked almonds.

Recipe from Greek, by George Calombaris, with photography by Earl Carter

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