Eton Mess

Eton Mess_site

Eton Mess is a traditional old English dessert combining strawberries, meringue and cream. Its name, which first appeared in the 19th century, refers to the famous school – Eton College – where it was served at the school’s annual cricket game. Apparently, it started out as plain old strawberries (or bananas) and cream; the meringue component being added in much later. Whatever the history, this luscious, quintessentially summer dessert has long been a family favourite and, as simple as it is, never fails to delight.

This particular recipe comes from New Zealand’s Taste magazine (March 2014, Issue 99). What I like about it is the addition of a strawberry coulis along with the fruit, ensuring a more intense fruit flavour. In this recipe the coulis is drizzled over top of the dessert, though you can of course swirl it through the mixture, creating a pretty marbled effect.

You’ll find that yoghurt is combined with the cream in this recipe – an increasingly common trend, especially when paired with something as sweet as meringue. To be honest though, I’m not sure I’m a fan – it makes the cream a little too tart for my liking, and it seems to me that the strawberries already provide natural tartness. I guess I’m just an old-fashioned girl when it comes to strawberries and cream – if it ain’t broke, don’t go fixing it. Having said that, I’ve left the recipe as is so you can decide for yourself.

By the way, I heartily recommend you make your own meringues rather than buying store-bought ones. They really are more delicious than those chalky commercial brands and, what’s more, these meringues have chewy marshmallow centres – need I say more?


ETON MESS

Serves 4-6 (depending on portion size)

Ingredients: (Click here for Unit Converter)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g (6.2 oz) caster sugar (superfine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour (corn starch)

For the topping:

  • 400g (about 2 cups) strawberries, fresh or frozen (or use a mixture of different berries)
  • 2 Tbsp icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup thick Greek style yoghurt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°F (300°F). Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
  2. Beat egg whites in a clean bowl until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, beating between each addition. Once all the sugar is mixed in (test by rubbing some mixture between your fingers – you shouldn’t feel any grains) fold in vanilla, vinegar and sifted cornflour.
  3. Take a dessertspoon full of mixture and place it on the baking paper in a small mound, leaving a bit of room between each. Repeat with remaining mixture and place tray in the oven. Turn down heat to 120°C (250°F) and cook for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave the meringues in the oven overnight or until completely cool.
  4. To make berry coulis, mix half the berries with the icing sugar in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until soft. Whizz in blender and leave to cool.
  5. To assemble dessert, chop the remaining berries into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Whisk cream until it forms soft peaks (it’s important not to over-whisk as the cream needs to be soft and gloopy). Fold together cream, yoghurt and berries and break meringues into mouthful-sized pieces and mix in gently.
  6. Serve in bowls or glasses and drizzle with coulis (I dolloped one big spoonful of mixture into each dish, then drizzled over some coulis, followed by a second dollop and more coulis over top, in effect creating a more layered parfait).

 Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting

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4 thoughts on “Eton Mess

  1. Always a fan of Eton Mess tho I was making it for years before I knew it was actually a thing and had a name. I like it best with raspberries tho 🙂

      1. really expensive right now tho, i think it must have been a bad season with our awful spring weather. I got 3 cherries off my tree when last year i got over 100

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