What is an Eton Mess?
Eton mess is a British gluten-free dessert made of meringue and whipped heavy cream with fruit. Traditionally, this would be fresh strawberries or bananas. This British dessert can be served in a large bowl, similar to a trifle, or divided into small bowls or glasses. Some variations include ice cream.
Eton Mess was first served at cricket matches in the 1890s when Eton College was an elite English boarding school. In the 1930s, the dessert became a staple in the “tuckshop” of the school, a small shop that sold sweets and snacks to students.
Eton Mess: 3 tips for making it at home
Eton mess was designed to be low maintenance. The quality of the individual components is what makes it stand out.
1. Prepare the meringue ahead of time. Make your meringue at home or use store-bought. FlFl flavor the meringue using rich chocolate powder or bright citrus zest for a new twist on Eton mess.
2. Make the meringue pieces large. The crunchy bits of meringue in an Eton Mess contrast the soft, creamy elements of the dish. If you smash the meringue to a finer consistency, it will be lost in the cream.
3. Make your own whipped cream. Homemade whipped cream that is velvety and luscious will hold heavy fruits, crispy meringue, and even heavier fruit. It will make a much more substantial Eton Mess than canister whipped cream.
What are the differences between an Eton mess and a Pavlova?
The pavlova has a slightly more controlled appearance than the Eton Mess. Pavlovas are baked meringue desserts topped with fruit and whipped cream. Low temperature and long baking create a crispy exterior with a marshmallowy interior. The pavlova can be completed with whipped crème and dressed with lemon curd or fresh fruit.
Eton mess combines a fruit-topped pavlova with meringue and a fruit fool (fruit puree folded in whipped cream). The British dessert is typically served in bowls and combines crushed meringue with whipped cream and fresh macerated fruits.
Eton Mess Recipe
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3 cups heavy whipping cream
Two tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup raspberries
1 cup large strawberries, hulled and divided
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Four ripe passion fruits, halved, juice and seeds set aside
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Make the meringue the night before. Whip the egg whites at high speed in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment until bubbles form. As you continue to mix, add the sugar granules slowly. Continue whisking until glossy, stiff peaks appear.
Use a rubber spatula and a clean bowl to fold the powdered sugar until it is fully incorporated. Be careful not to overmix the meringue or deflate it.
Preheat the oven by moving the rack down to 200degF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Pipe the meringue into mounds of 2 inches or in a large spiral using a star tip in a pastry bag. Bake for 2-3 hours or until the meringue can be easily removed from the parchment. Cool the meringues in the oven for at least an hour or overnight.
Chop the half of strawberries and put them aside. Transfer the remaining strawberries and the granulated lemon sugar to a food processing machine. Puree until smooth. You can also mash the mixture in a bowl using a mortar, pestle, or fork.
Use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer until soft peaks are formed. Add the vanilla extract and two tablespoons of powdered sugar.
Use a spatula and swirl the puree into the strawberries.
Break the meringue into large pieces. Add the whipped cream mixture to the bowl, followed by the chopped strawberries, raspberries, and passionfruit juice. Gently mix everything. Serve immediately, garnished with mint.
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