Summer Fruits Eton Mess
Serves: 4 – 6
Cost: ~€5, depending on the season
Preparation time: ~15 minutes
Calories: ~400 per serving
I’m sorry to say that this dish is a bit of a mess. Ha, no, I’m just kidding – despite the title, that’s actually the official name of the dish, which always makes for an entertaining time when trying to explain the dessert to non-native English speakers! It’s unknown whether the “mess” part of the title refers to the appearance of the dish, or the not-so-oft-used word “mess” meaning “a quantity of food”. Regardless of this confusing nomenclature, the dish dates back to at least the 19th century, and is nowadays traditionally served each year at Eton College‘s annual cricket match against the students of Winchester College. What better way to settle some sporting differences than a nice bowl of dessert, right?
Regardless of its origin, the dish is fantastically simple to make, and can be whipped up in next to no time. I must admit that I cheated somewhat. I usually prefer to make my own meringues, but I’d promised to make the dessert for a dinner party at a friend’s house and we didn’t arrive back home from the dog-shelter, where we’ve been volunteering, until really quite late. There is a bakery near me which sells very good meringue – I mean, how difficult can decent meringue be to make? You’d think not so hard, right? It’s just sugar and egg white…! Well, you’d be wrong. I don’t know what some stores do to their meringues but they don’t taste anything like egg-whites and sugar… more like plaster or dry-wall . Anyway – I picked up two hefty meringue slabs and some berries which they’ve started getting in stores and scurried on home and set to work! If you wait to make this until the berries are a bit more seasonal, and make the meringue yourself, you’ll find the dish a lot friendlier on the pocket, although even in this season it’s hardly bank-breaking.
The ingredients list below is a guideline only – the dish pretty much makes itself; it’s virtually impossible to fail at it. Strawberries are believed to be the most traditional fruit, but you can really add any summer fruit you fancy. As with a number of old-school English recipes, it doesn’t seem the most healthy of dishes, but it’s indulgent and delicious, and perfect with a glass of chilled chardonnay on a hot summer’s day.
Enjoy the mess everyone! I hope you’ve all been having a fruitful weekend (ha, see what I did there?) and will have an enjoyable Sunday. I’m making something British (sort of… we kind of stole it from someone else! ) for brunch this morning which I’ll be posting about in the week! Take care and have a great week!
Summer Fruits Eton Mess
- ~100g Meringue
- ~10 Strawberries
- ~30 Raspberries
- ~30 Blueberries
- ~400ml Whipping Cream
You’ll also need
- A hand blender
- Start off by whipping the cream until quite stiff. Of course, you don’t want it to turn into butter but a firm whip will help the dessert keep its shape and look more appealing later.
- Next, crumble or cut the meringue up into small, bite-sized chunks.
- Transfer the meringue pieces to the bowl with the cream and then prepare the fruit. Set aside one or two strawberries, a few raspberries and blueberries and add the rest of the raspberries and blueberries whole to the bowl with the meringue and cream. Trim the strawberries and slice up into “blueberry sized” pieces and add them into the bowl as well.
- Using the hand blender, blend the fruit which you have set aside in the previous step in a small bowl until you have a rich, quite smooth purée.
- Mix the cream, fruit and meringue well together in a bowl. Just before serving, pour the fruit purée over the top and stir a couple of times to create a swirl effect. Served immediate while the meringue is still crispy and enjoy!