This Eton Mess recipe makes an easy but impressive dinner party dessert, or spoil your family one evening!
Crushed up meringue, whipped cream and berries makes for a deliciously decadent dessert and is a real favorite with our family.
If you are a pavlova fan, then you will love an Eton Mess - it has all the same delicious flavors, without the worry of it collapsing!
What is Eton Mess?
Eton Mess is a delicious and decadent sweet creamy dessert.
A bit like a deconstructed pavlova, it has crushed up meringue mixed through whipped cream, along with fruit - usually strawberries, and sometimes raspberries.
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History of Eton Mess
The origin of Eton Mess is said to come from Eton College in England.
The story goes that during the annual school cricket match between Eton and Harrow, somebody dropped the meringue dessert on the floor. Rather than waste the dessert, this person is said to have scooped it up and mixed it into individual bowls and served it up!
I have no idea as to the authenticity of this story, but it is quite a good one!
Eton Mess ingredients
There are three elements to an Eton Mess: meringue, cream and fruit.
To make meringue, you need just egg whites and sugar. A lot of meringue recipes insist you use cornflour and vinegar to the mixture. I have tried both ways and honestly can't really tell the difference. So now I just stick to egg whites and sugar.
For the cream, just make sure you have cream suitable for whipping. Also I recommend whipping it until it is nice and thick, but not so thick that it will be difficult to stir through the meringue.
Traditionally you make Eton Mess with strawberries. However, raspberries and meringue make such a good combination, I always make my Eton Mess with raspberries too.
You may also like this recipe: No Bake Banana Cheesecake.
How to Make Eton Mess
To make Eton Mess, you first need to make meringues. This is actually pretty easy, and much easier than making a large pavlova.
And because you are going to crush up the meringues anyway, you don't need to worry about them looking pretty or worry if they crack.
Have a Thermomix? Check out our easy Thermomix meringue recipe.
To make the meringue, you first need to separate the eggs and whip up the egg whites with an electric whisk. Do this until you can turn the bowl upside down without them falling out (this is always fun to test on top of one of the kids' heads!)
Then slowly add in the sugar and continue to whip until the meringue mixture forms soft peaks. I mix in a quarter of the sugar at a time, and mix until you have soft peaks each time.
Then you spoon the mixture into six nests onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for an hour. Once the hour is up, turn the oven off and leave them to cool in the oven. This helps to give you some of those yummy gooey middle bits that are oh, so good in the Eton Mess.
Meanwhile you can whip your cream and cut up your strawberries and raspberries ready to mix together.
Some Eton Mess recipes suggest sprinkling the strawberries with sugar first. I really don't think this is necessary, especially if your strawberries are ripe and in season. There is so much sugar in this dessert already with the meringue!
I do like to make a fresh berry sauce to mix into the Eton Mess though, and I just do this by blitzing up a few of the strawberries and raspberries. I use the small mixer attachment of my stick blender to do this.
This is because the meringue can dissolve into the cream after a while, and while it will still taste delicious, it won't have the nice crunchy meringue bits in it.
Eton Mess Dessert with a Twist
It's easy to experiment give your Eton Mess a twist.
Some people like to make Eton Mess with ice cream mixed through as well as cream. You could also experiment with different fruit - a tropical Eton Mess with passionfruit and mango works really well too.
You could also stir through chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, nuts or sprinkles... whatever your heart desires!
LOVE MERINGUES? YOU MAY LIKE THESE RECIPES:
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- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup caster sugar (120g)
- 2 cups double cream (450ml)
- 1 ½ cups strawberries (250g)
- ¾ cup raspberries (125g)
- Pre-heat oven to 130C / 270F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Use an electric whisk to the whisk egg whites in a bowl until they reach stiff peaks and you can turn the bowl upside down without them sliding out.
- Add the sugar one quarter at a time and whisk until stiff peaks form each time.
- Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray into 6 nests. They don't need to look pretty - you will be breaking them up anyway!
- Bake in the oven for one hour, then turn off the oven but leave the meringues in there to cool.
- Meanwhile prepare the berry sauce by blitzing 4 strawberries and 4 raspberries (I use the small mixer attachment of my stick blender to do this)
- In a large clean bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
- Once the meringues are cool, break them up into small pieces and fold into the cream.
- To assemble the Eton Mess, layer your ingredients into your bowls/glasses. Start with a little of the berry sauce, followed by some of the meringue/cream mixture, then a sprinkling of strawberries and raspberries, some berry sauce and then some more meringue/cream mixture. Decorate with a couple of raspberries and a drizzle of berry sauce.