A Special Valentine’s Day Dessert — The Skaket Mess

A Special Valentine’s Day dessert from Chef Bill Conway of the Captain Linnell House in Orleans.

                                                          The Skaket Mess

serves 6 people


(Seems like a lot of recipes but they are all easy)

Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries

2 cups Half & Half
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbls. vanilla
8 large egg yolks

Italian Meringue:

8 egg whites (no yolk at all)
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Carmel Sauce:

4 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup lite Karo Syrup
Pinch Cream of Tartar
Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbls. vanilla extract
4 Tbls. sugar


Custard:  Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.  Place Half & Half and cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Ladle hot cream into egg mixture while whisking.  Return cream and egg mixture to the sauce pan and cook for a few minutes until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Add vanilla extract and chill.  Warning:  if you cook custard too long, the eggs will scramble.

Italian Meringue:  In a saucepan combine sugar and water.  Stir a little at  beginning, then don’t stir after.  Cook to a temperature of 250 degrees or soft ball stage.  Beat egg whites until stiff.  Drizzle hot sugar mixture into egg whites, whisking constantly.  You need to use an electric mixer for this; it makes a very stable meringue.  On a sheet pan lined with parchment, pipe small rosettes with a pastry bag with a fluted tip (or you could get creative and pipe any shape).  Finish the meringues in a 200 degree slow oven for 30-60 minutes or until dry to your touch.  These will store well in an airtight container.

Carmel Sauce: Place sugar, water, lite Karo Syrup and Cream of Tartar in a sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer slowly until you reach a carmel to chestnut color.  Turn heat off and add heavy cream.  It will boil vigorously.  When it calms down, stir until smooth.  You could add vanilla or rum if you choose.  It is a great sauce for ice cream or cake and warms easily in a water bath.

Whipped Cream:  Whisk heavy cream until stiff.  Add sugar at half way point and vanilla at end.

Presentation:  We use a sundae glass for an individual dessert but a glass bowl or trifle dish could also work.  It is a layered dessert:  first spoon a little custard in the bottom of the glass, than meringue rosettes, some berries and arrange so you can see fruit.  Spoon a little more custard, a dollop of whipped cream, more meringue rosettes and finish with a drizzle of carmel sauce and a piece of mint for garnish.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

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