Eton mess is a classic British dessert that is incredibly easy to prepare - simply fruit, cream and meringue mixed together - but the result is so delicious. It's perfect for a party or easy anytime treat.
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We've made having people over for a barbecue/cook out a bit of a tradition for Memorial Day, as I imagine many others do as well. I usually manage to come up with some favorites to grill, like chicken satay and burgers (such as a maple turkey burger). We have a few favorite sides, like Mexican street corn salad. But dessert, for some reason, I sometimes find tricky.
A cake might seem easiest as you can make it in advance. However, I always feel like it's a bit heavy after all the grilled food, and you need a certain amount of help to finish it. Fruit is lighter and fits the season, but can seem a little, well, just like a bowl of fruit.
That's where Eton Mess comes in as the perfect, easy dessert for this time of year that's both delicious and relatively light.
It's true that 'mess' is a little appropriate in that it's not likely to win a dessert beauty contest, but you can smarten it a little with nice glasses to serve and keeping some fruit for the top. Plus, once everyone digs in, the appearance will be the last thing on their minds.
Eton mess is traditionally made from cream, meringue and strawberries, although you can add in other fruit as well, as I have here.
Where does Eton mess get it's name?
The story goes that Eton mess came about by a meringue dessert being accidentally crushed at Eton College, one of the oldest and most elite private schools in England. Rather than waste it, what was created was then served.
Whether true or not, it is apparently served annually at the school's cricket match against Harrow school and has been for over a century. It's also become more and more popular beyond that elite world, and for good reason.
Cream, fruit and crunchy meringue are a fantastic mix of textures and flavors that work so well together. It almost feels a stretch to call it a recipe, it's so easy. But don't tell anyone, just enjoy.
Four simple steps
- Break up the meringues into chunks.
- Whip the cream.
- Dice the strawberries.
- Combines the cream, meringue and fruit and transfer to serving dishes.
It really is that easy! This is typically made just with strawberries, but I decided to add some blueberries for additional color. Plus, it's conveniently red, white and blue if that fits your occasion.
I've been fairly heavy on the fruit and less so on the cream in this version, but if you'd like a bit more cream then feel free to adjust the amounts. I made homemade meringues, but you can use store-bought as well.
Can Eton Mess be prepared in advance?
You can prepare this a little bit in advance (say an hour or two), but the longer you leave it, the more the meringues will soften. Homemade meringues soften more quickly, I find. A good alternative is to prepare everything in advance then combine them closer to when you need them.
Eton mess is an incredibly easy and delicious dessert, that is perfect to enjoy in warmer weather. Light, creamy and with just enough sweetness, it will be a favorite in no time.
Try these other desserts perfect for summer:
- Summer pudding (another classic British dessert!)
- Grilled peaches with mascarpone
- Grilled pineapple ice cream
- Lime mascarpone cheesecake shooters
- Plus get plenty more ideas in the summer recipes archives.
If you'd like to try a twist on the classic dessert I highly recommend my mango passion fruit Eton mess too!
- 8 oz strawberries 225g
- 3 oz blueberries 85g
- 1 oz meringues 30g, homemade or store bought
- 1 cup heavy cream 120ml double cream
- Husk and roughly chop the strawberries into small bite-sized pieces and mix with the blueberries.
- Break the meringues into similar sized pieces.
- When ready to serve, whisk the cream until soft peaks then mix in the strawberries, blueberries and meringues, holding back a few pieces of strawberry and blueberries for the top.
- Transfer to serving glasses/dishes and top with the reserved strawberries and blueberries,
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