Well, the summer is just flying away from me, filled with family visits and trips. I can’t believe more than a month has passed since my last post.
So, I come bearing the gift of an exquisitely easy dessert recipe: my own version of the traditional English dessert, Eton Mess, a delectable mess of strawberries, meringue and cream. With the help of my dad, I recently served this version of the classic dessert to my family at the unreasonable hour of 11:00 PM in the evening – and all because I couldn’t stand the fact that they had been visiting the United Kingdom for almost three weeks and still hadn’t had it! It was a great hit, so I am sharing it with you.
Tradition tells us that the first Eton Messes were served at Eton College during their annual cricket match against a rival college. These days, it is a fairly standard summer dessert (or pudding, as they are often called in England). And once you’ve tried it, you’ll know why! What better than lightly whipped cream punctuated by crispy chunks of meringue and slightly tart slices of strawberry?
If you use pre-made meringues of any sort, this dish can be made in less than 10 minutes flat. If you choose to make your own meringues, be prepared to wait. I suggest making them the night before as the trick to crunchy, white meringues is a very long bake in the oven at a very low temperature (it may take hours!). So, if you choose to use bought meringues, don’t worry; I, for one, will not judge you.
I used a few tablespoons of port to flavour the strawberry puree. This is completely optional and not particularly traditional.
You can serve this layered in glass cups, or you can simply toss all the ingredients in a big bowl.
I didn’t adhere to strict measurement guidelines; the basic rule of thumb is 1 part cream, 1 part strawberries and 1 part meringue.
Eton Mess Recipe
- Meringues (see recipe below using sugar and egg whites or buy pre-made)
- Strawberries (ripe)
- Double or whipping cream
- A few tablespoons of port
If you want to make your own meringues, preheat your oven to its lowest setting, normally 175F or gas mark 1. Beat 5 egg whites until stiff and then add 1/2 cup of white sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks appear. Drop by spoonful onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until they are crispy and crunchy. This may take hours. Be careful not to cook at too high a temperature or the meringues will caramelize.
To prepare the ingredients for the Eton mess:
- Crumble the meringues into chunks (small and larger pieces)
- Slice half the strawberries.
- Puree the remaining strawberries with a few tablespoons of port (or with a little bit of sugar if not using port).
- Whip the cream.
- Layer the ingredients in small glass cups or toss very gently in a large bowl.