Eton Mess is a traditional British dessert. It is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against Harrow School. The main components are strawberries, crushed meringues and whipped cream. People claimed that it was created as a result of a Labrador stepping on a meringue and it was served with the strawberries and cream. However it is often dispelled as a myth and people now say that the chef created it himself.
For a quick cheat’s desserts, you can use ready-made meringue nests from good supermarkets but I love making my own meringues. Even better, these meringues do not require 1 and ½ hours to bake and then a further hour to dry out in the oven. They take just 40 minutes to bake and there is no time needed for drying out. Whatever meringue you use, this is a great summer dessert. Of course, you can substitute the strawberries in here for any soft seasonal fruits such as figs, plums, peaches, nectarines, kiwis. Some hard fruits can be made into a compote to serve in the meringue.
12 shop bought meringue nests or 12 homemade meringue nests @ https://andrewinthekitchen.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/homemade-meringues/
300ml double cream (keep chilled until you are ready to assemble)
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g icing sugar
300g strawberries – or whichever soft fruit you want to use
25g dark chocolate, optional
- Whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar to a soft peak. This is the stage where the cream just begins to hold its shape but still looks quite silky and satin-like.
- Hull the strawberries – this process removes just the leaves of the strawberry – or cut the tops off (my preferred technique).
- Take one meringue nest and take a small amount of cream to cover the base. This stops the moisture from the fruit softening the meringue. Take more cream to cover the tips of the strawberry and place another nest on top.
- If you want contrast, grate over some dark chocolate. Else, take some cream and chopped strawberries and serve alongside the Neat Eton Mess.
Most of you may recognise this recipe from Lorraine Pascale. The meringue mix is similar but I’ve made the traditional flavour combination here and it just works so well. I hope many of you try making at least the meringues because it is just so easy. It creates a stunning looking dessert which actually was not more than an hour in the kitchen.