The classic Eton mess is a delicious summery British dessert made with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and crunchy meringues.
What is Eton mess?
Eton mess is a traditional British dessert with strawberries, cream and meringues mixed together.
Can Eton Mess be prepared in advance?
Eton mess contains meringues which slowly start to soften and go chewy as soon as they are cooked. Mixing the meringue into the whipped cream makes this happen even faster.
For the yummiest Eton mess with lovely crunchy meringues its best assemble it just before serving. You can make the strawberry sauce, whipped cream and meringues the day before hand which makes it quick and easy to assemble on the day.
For an easy Eton mess you could use store bough meringues if you don't have time to make your own, in which case you could have this on the table in as little as 20 minutes.
Why is it called an Eton mess?
Eton mess is though to have originated from Eton Collage in England. It was served in the school tuck shop in the 1930's with strawberries and cream or ice cream, with the meringues added at a later day. It can be made with many different types of fruit, but strawberry is considered the most traditional.
Berries: traditional Eton mess is made with strawberries. I've added some raspberries on top for an extra pop of color and flavor. This recipe is very adaptable and you could add or swap your favorite summer fruit. It would be great with other berries such as blackberries or blueberries or with some luscious summer stone fruit such as cherries, peaches or apricots.
Cream: an essential componenet of this classic English dessert. I used thickened cream but you could use heavy cream or heavey whipping cream.
Sour cream: helps to add some creaminess and extra tang to this recipe. You could swap the sour cream for crème fresh or mascarpone or for a lighter healthier version you could use Greek yogurt instead.
Meringues: this recipe uses easy home made meringues for crunch, made with egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar. If you don't have time to make the meringues yourself you could use store brought instead for an easy Eton Mess.
Cream of tartar: also known as tartaric acid. Its a common ingredient in baking and helps stabilize the meringues and stop them from deflating and is commonly thought to make the most stable meringues. You can substitute with the same amount of lemon juice or vinegar but your meringues won't be as stable.
How to make Eton mess
To start with make the meringues then you can make this delicious dessert.
To make the meringues
Preheat your oven to 175°F (80°C) (fan forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Separate the egg whites and put the yolks for another recipe, such as one of my delicious ice creams.
Put the egg whites into a very clean bowl. Beat on a medium speed with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks start to form. Add the sugar, about a third at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the cream of tartar and mix well. You meringue mix should be smooth, glossy and not gritty when you rub some mix between your fingers.
Spoon the mix in dollops onto the prepared baking tray. If I was making my pretty rainbow meringues I would put the mix into a piping bag but for this recipe there is no need since the meringues will be broken up and mixed in anyway.
Bake for two hours, then allow to cool completely in the oven before taking out. Store in a airtight container lined with baking paper until you make the rest of the dessert.
To make the dessert:
Hull the strawberries and cut into quarters. Blitz (250gms) in a food processor until smooth. A sugar for sauce and mix well.
Add the vanilla to the cream and whip with a electric hand beaters or in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Put the sour cream in a separate bowl and give it a stir to loosen it up. Add the sour cream and sugar for cream to the whipped cream beat well.
Set up an assembly station with the cream mix, meringues, strawberry sauce, chopped strawberries and raspberries.
Add about a third of the chopped strawberries to the bottom of the glasses. Drizzle with a third of the strawberry sauce. Add half the cream mix and top with broken up pieces of meringue.
Repeat again for the second layer, chopped strawberries, strawberry sauce, cream mix, meringue. Finally top with the rest of the strawberries, drizzle with strawberry sauce and add top with some lovely fresh raspberries.
How to serve
You can make this dessert in cute individual glasses, or a a large serving bowl. The assembly method is the same either way.
How to store
This dessert is best served immediately after assembling, other wise the meringues will go soft and mushy. The meringues themselves can be made the night before making this dessert. Other wise the ingredients are best stored individually until you are able to make this delicious dessert.
Have you made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below and tag me on instagram so I can see your delicious creations! @keep_calm_and_eat_icecream
Looking for more yummy desert recipes
Why not try making
- Electric hand beaters or stand mixer
- 3 egg whites from large eggs
- ½ cup (110gms) white sugar
- ¼ tea spoon cream of tartar
- 3 cups (750gms) ripe strawberries
- 1 tablespoon white sugar for strawberry sauce
- 1 and ½ cups (375mls) thickened cream, heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup (125mls) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon white sugar for cream
- ½ cup ripe raspberries
- Make the meringues first, then make the rest of the dessert
To make the meringues
- Pre heat your oven to 176°F (80°C) (fan forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Separate the eggs and put the yolks aside for another recipe, such as one of my delicious ice creams.
- Whip the egg whites using electric hand beaters or a stand mixer until soft peaks start to form. Add the sugar, about a third at a time, mixing well in between each addition.
- Once the sugar is all mixed in add the cream of tartar and mix well.
- Spoon mix onto baking paper in large dollops and spread out a little.
- Bake in the oven for two hours. Meringues should be crisp on the outside and make a hollow sound when tapped. Return to oven, turn off oven and allow meringues to cool completely in oven for maximum crispness.
- Remove from try and store in an airtight container lined with baking paper until you make the rest of your Eaton mess.
To make the Eaton mess
- Hull the strawberries and cut into quarters.
- Take one cup of strawberries and blitz in a food processor until smooth. Add one table spoon of sugar and mix well.
- In a separate bowl. add the vanilla to the cream and whip with an electric hand beaters or stand mixer or until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar to the cream. Measure the sour cream and stir well to loosen up, then gently fold sugar and sour cream into whipped cream.
- Get your four elements ready to assemble the dessert, cream mix, broken up meringues, strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries.
- Put a third of your chopped strawberries in the bottom of a large serving bowl or individual glasses. Top half the cream mix.
- Add a third of the strawberries on top of the cream. Drizzle with half the strawberry sauce. Break apart and scatter over half the meringues.
- Add the second half of the cream mix. Top with remaining strawberries, strawberry sauce and broken up meringues.
- Serve immediately, dig in and enjoy!
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