Eton Mess

by Joseph Erdos
Print Email

etonmessIf you've ever had a meringue, then you know how ethereal it can be. But combine it with cream and ripe strawberries and you have an exquisite dessert. Eton Mess takes these ingredients and jumbles them together in a mess, hence the name. The dessert hails from England's famous Eton College. As the story goes, it was either created by cheeky boys who mixed all their desserts together—and one day it happened to be strawberries, cream, and meringue—or it was invented by a crafty shopkeeper at the local food shop. However the dessert was founded, I'm glad it was invented in the first place.

I'm a big sucker for desserts with whipped cream and I'm a big fan of British desserts like trifle, so Eton Mess is easy for me to adore. The traditional way of making this "mess" is to mix all the ingredients together, but I like to layer the dessert so you can see the berries through the glass. I also tend to use more cream than other recipes specify, making this a very plush dessert. There's nothing like billowy clouds of cream enveloping crunchy cookie bits and sweet, mushy berries in this easiest and most pleasing of desserts.

It really takes no time at all to put together and it disappears in just a few minutes too. I add sugar to the berries to lend sweetness and help bring out the natural liquid. I also add a bit of vinegar, which is an Italian trick that works extremely well in heightening the berry flavor. For the assembly, I highly suggest using store-bought meringues. I can make meringues just as fine as the next baker, but I won't try making them in humid whether. They simply won't turn out well. And don't use whipped cream in the can. It will not hold up in this dessert. Whipping your own cream is the best option and it tastes much better in the end.

Eton Mess

1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
6 store-bought meringues
mint sprigs, for garnish

Combine strawberries, granulated sugar, and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Let macerate for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, begin beating the heavy cream. Add the vanilla and gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

Crumble 5 meringues and fold them into the whipped cream. Fold almost all the strawberries into the whipped cream, holding back about 1/2 cup. Mix just so the strawberry liquid streaks through the cream.

Fill 4 parfait glasses with the mixture. Layer in some remaining strawberries and top with the strawberries. Crumble the remaining meringue and top each glass with the crumbs. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

 

Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, but above all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.

Comments have been closed for this piece.

 

restaurant news

The Jazzy Pizzeria
Los Angeles
by Robert Keats

mozzalogo.jpg Dinner at a great restaurant is like jazz music. The Duke Ellingtons, Count Basies and Billie Holidays of the culinary world perform their signature genius through improvisation.

Such is the...

Read more...
Beef Back in Style at Covent Garden's Hawksmoor
London - British Isles
by Nancy Ellison

hawksmoormainSince (finally) it has been discovered that the fat in beef – oleic acid – is the same heart healthy fat that is found in olive oil, and since fat in beef actually decreases heart-disease risk...

Read more...
The Island Grill at the Lancaster in London
London - British Isles
by Carolan Nathan

island-grillThis lively bar and restaurant is situated in the towering Lancaster London Hotel opposite Hyde Park and is a ideal spot to enjoy modern European cuisine served with panache by a friendly staff...

Read more...
B & G Oysters
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

bg 3B & G Oysters is one of those places that took off on Day One or at least that's how I remember it. We've had lunch there for years, not years and years, but enough to know that every oyster's...

Read more...