ETON MESS

Although I first had this "messy" dessert in Australia, it is an old English dessert first served at Eton College. It is best put together at the last minute but the components can be made ahead. You can buy meringues or make them a few days in advance. Instead of whipped cream I often use vanilla bean ice cream or strawberry sorbet (preferably Gelato Fresco) or a combination of both. Use juicy seasonal fruits like cherries, berries, peaches, plums or nectarines.

Although I first had this "messy" dessert in Australia, it is an old English dessert first served at Eton College. It is best put together at the last minute but the components can be made ahead. You can buy meringues or make them a few days in advance. Instead of whipped cream I often use vanilla bean ice cream or strawberry sorbet (preferably Gelato Fresco) or a combination of both. Use juicy seasonal fruits like cherries, berries, peaches, plums or nectarines.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • meringues:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (also called fruit sugar or caster sugar)
  • berries:
  • 4 cups fresh local strawberries or other berries in season
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste

Method

  1. Beat egg whites until just light and opaque. Beat in sugar gradually. Beat until stiff. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 16) Bake in a preheated 250F oven one hour. Turn off oven and leave meringues in the oven to cool completely or up to overnight. (Put a reminder on the oven door in case someone turns on the oven – that would be me!)
  2. Coarsely mash half the berries with 1 tbsp sugar. Save eight berries for garnish and slice remaining berries.
  3. Whip cream until light. Beat in vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Just before serving break meringues into 1” chunks. In a large bowl lightly combine cream with meringues, mashed berries and sliced berries. Do not overmix - it should be a marbled mess!
  5. Place in pretty dessert dishes, martini glasses or a trifle bowl and serve immediately.

ETON MESS

Find more of Bonnie's delicious recipes in her cookbooks: