Eton Mess

 When I first heard about this dessert, I thought the name of it was right up my alley.  I mean “Eton Mess”?  C’Mon!  Most of my desserts are a mess and when they’re not it’s purely a happy accident.

So I did a little digging…and it’s basically a variation on a Strawberry Shortcake…and I love Strawberry Shortcake.  You can pretty much do what you want with it, but essentially you’re just swapping out the angel food cake for meringue and serving them in individual dishes.

This is a fantastic summer dinner party dessert!

Ingredients

Strawberries

  • 1 pound of strawberries, quartered
  • 2 T sugar

Meringue

  • 3 large egg whites, brought to room temperature
  • 3/8 t cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3 T powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ t vanilla

Directions

This is another dessert that you make in parts, and one of the beauties of it is you can make all three parts ahead of time and put them together just before serving.  The only downside is that, since you’re making meringue…this gonna take a while.  BUT it’s easy!

First off, start with the strawberries.   Cut them into quarters (or slightly smaller if they’re super big) and toss them with the sugar.  Leave that to the side for about an hour so that the sugar draws some of the juice out of the berries.  You probably won’t be using this right away, so cover it and put it in the fridge til you’re ready for it.

Full disclosure – I had some sliced strawberries, with sugar, already in the freezer from a previous recipe, so I just used them!

On to the meringue.  First, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (it’ll be better to have one with a small rim) and set that aside.  Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into a bowl and whip at a low speed to get everything well combined.  Turn the mixer up to high and start adding the sugar, a little at a time.  Keep beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks that stand up on their own and the mixture is smooth to the touch, meaning all the sugar has been incorporated.

Take your mixture, and with a rubber spatula place it on the prepared baking sheet in something approximating a rectangle, maybe a three quarters of an inch or so thick.  Don’t worry how it looks or if it isn’t uniform – you’re going to be breaking it apart to serve it, anyway.

Put your meringue in an oven heated all the way to 200 degrees – you’re not cooking the meringue, you’re just drying it out.  The timing for this will vary, but it’s going to take a while.   Check it after 3 hours, and every half hour after that.  What you’re looking for is a meringue that is hard on the outside but still a little soft inside.  Since you’re breaking it up, you can absolutely break off a little piece here and there just to check.

When it’s done, take it out of the oven and put the whole cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool.

You can make this up to a couple days ahead of time, but if you’re not serving it the day you make it, once it’s cool cover it with tin foil and stick it in the freezer.  You will not need to defrost it to use it.

I would recommend making the whipped cream just before you serve the dish.  To do this, just add the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to a bowl and, you know, make whipped cream.  Whip it until stiff peaks form.

When you’re about to serve, get your meringue and crumble it over the bowl with the whipped cream in it.  Lightly fold the meringue into the whipped cream with a spatula.  Get out your bowls and portion the whipped cream and meringue mix evenly into the bowls.  Depending on how large they are, you’ll get 4-6 servings out of this, and you can put it in any kind of bowl/glass that you’d like.IMG_2578

Take the strawberries, drain off the juice (but hang on to it!), and portion them evenly into each dish.  Finish by drizzling the strawberry juice on top of everything, and you are done!IMG_2582

People are going to LOVE this one.

IMG_2590

1 thought on “Eton Mess

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