Serve a pud guaranteed to please a crowd this Christmas with Philippa Davis' Christmas Eton mess - perfect for the figgy pudding nay-sayers


If you have a crowd to feed on the 25th, you can guarantee there will be a few figgy pudding nay-sayers. Having an alternative to hand is essential to keeping festive spirits high. Philippa Davis’ Christmas Eton mess is simple to make and, crucially, guaranteed to please.

Add a game twist to your festive table this year. Our fillet of venison with sloe gin and anchovy sauce is appropriately laced with festive spirit and spice.


Serves 8


  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • 350g cooking apple, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 80g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 100g cranberries
  • 20g demerara sugar
  • 1 orange, zest and juice

Eggnog Cream

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 dsp icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, beans only
  • 150ml thick custard
  • 1 ½ tbsp rum
  • 1 ½ tbsp bourbon
  • To serve: ½ nutmeg

For the meringue, preheat the oven to 110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼.

Line a 20cm square baking sheet with baking paper.

Using an electric whisk on high speed, mix the egg whites with half the sugar. When thick and doubled in volume add half the remaining sugar and whisk for another five minutes then add the rest and whisk for another five.

Stir through the ground ginger, cornflour and lemon juice.

Scoop the meringue onto the baking sheet into a pavlova shape and cook for 1½ hours.

It should be crispy almost all the way through.

Heat the apple, sugar and cinnamon in a pan until the apple goes soft. Leave to cool.

Heat cranberries, sugar, orange zest and juice in a pan until the cranberries have softened and split. Leave to cool.

For the eggnog cream, whisk the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until thick. Stir in the custard, rum and bourbon.

To assemble, break the meringue into a bowl and lightly fold in the eggnog cream and two-thirds of the apple and cranberry. Spoon into your serving dish and top with the remainder of the apple and cranberry. Grate over the nutmeg.