Eton Mess

June is here, and time for some lighter summer desserts.  If you are wondering what an Eton Mess is, it is the best kind of mess.  Bits of meringue, whipped cream and fresh fruit (usually strawberries) make up a delightfully airy dessert with all those textures balancing out into the perfect bite.  How this British concoction came about is a bit of a debate.  The most accepted version involves an Eton v Harlow cricket match in the late 19th century and a dropped meringue/strawberry/cream pudding  All I know for sure is that it is quite scrumptious.  And easy, and the perfect summer dessert.

From AnkarsrumUSA recipe developer, Carmi Adams:

There are three components to this dessert.  First up, the meringues.  These whip up quickly in the plastic whipping bowl with the balloon whisks.  I used the kind of meringue I prefer: very easy, near impossible to mess up, and a bit like pavlova, since the exterior gets nice and crispy and the interior is still a bit marshmallowy.

Egg whites, pinch of salt and lemon juice whipped till frothy. Lemon juice takes the place of cream of tartar.

 

These don’t get whipped for very long, which is why I use baker’s sugar/ultrafine sugar, so it can dissolve as quick as possible.

After 2 1/2-3 minutes, you should have a peak that almost holds its entire shape when you lift the whisks out. This is what you are looking for, the not quite fully stiff consistency will give you that soft interior.

 

Since the meringues are going to get crushed up, there is really no need to try to make them look spectacular.  I just aim for approximately the same size so they bake evenly, and don’t worry about the rest.

A regular size spoon works well for dolloping the meringue batter out. Parchment paper is preferred over silicone baking mats to ensure the bottom of the meringues become crisp and not soft.

 

The meringues need to bake and then cool in the oven.  This step is very important, since they will continue to cook as they cool.

Once baked, turn off oven. Crack the oven door open 3-4 inches and let cool for an hour.
Fully cooled and ready to use.
You can make the meringues up to a week in advance. These are some that were stored in an airtight container for 8 days on the kitchen counter. The interior will begin to dry out and lose the marshmallowy texture after about 3 days.

 

I prefer a smooth, seedless strawberry jam.

 

While the meringues bake and cool, the other two components can be made up.  The strawberries don’t require much effort: slice up, mix with a little sugar and some jam to thicken the juices that will release as they sit.  You can just cover and let sit at room temperature for a few hours until ready to use.

Last but not least is the cream.  This dessert is supposed to be made with double cream, which has a butterfat content of 42%.  That can be hard to find in the USA though, so the next best thing would be heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized), which has a butterfat content of around 36%.  I gave the whipping cream a creamier, slightly thicker texture by adding in some mascarpone.

Let the mascarpone and sugar whip for about a minute before adding in heavy cream.
Start off on a lower speed once cream is added to avoid splatter. As it begins to thicken, gradually increase speed.

 

To assemble, my preferred method is to break 3/4 of the meringues into pieces and fold into whipped cream with just a few spoonfuls of the strawberries.  Then spoon into individual bowls or goblets and top with remaining strawberries and crushed meringues.

While the components can be made in advance, do not mix together until right before serving or the meringues will become completely soft and soggy.

 

Eton Mess

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Inactive Time: 1 hour

 

Meringues:

3 egg whites

pinch kosher salt

6 g (1 tsp.) lemon juice

5 g. (1 tsp.) vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

175 g. (1 cup) ultrafine sugar

Strawberries:

452 g. (1 pound) fresh strawberries

5 g. (1 tsp.) sugar

57 g. (2 Tbsp.) strawberry jam

Whipped Cream:

1 container (226 g./8 oz.) mascarpone, room temperature

28 g. (2 Tbsp.) vanilla sugar (or 28 g. regular sugar and 2.5 g / 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)

345 g. (1 1/2 cups) heavy whipping cream

 

For meringues:

Preheat oven to 275º F.  Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.

In the plastic whipping bowl with the balloon whisks, whip the egg whites, salt and lemon juice on medium high speed (4 o’clock) until frothy.  Add vanilla bean paste.  Turn mixer back on and slowly begin to add sugar.  Once sugar is all added, turn up speed to highest setting and let whip approximately 3 minutes until peaks almost fully hold their shape.  Test by lifting balloon whisks out of bowl.  Peak should only slightly fold over at the very top.

Spoon 2-3 tbsp. batter per each meringue onto prepared pans, leaving 2 inches between meringues.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Turn oven off and crack oven door 3-4 inches.  Let meringues cool for 1 hour in oven.  Once cooled, remove from pan and use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

For strawberries:

Remove stems and cut strawberries into uniform pieces.  Gently mix in a medium bowl with sugar and jam.  Cover and let sit at least one hour so strawberries can release some of their juices.  Can be made 4-5 hours in advance.

For whipped cream:

In the plastic whipping bowl with the balloon whisks, whip together the mascarpone and vanilla sugar on medium speed (3 o’clock) for 1 minute.  Scrape down sides.

Add the heavy whipping cream and begin whipping on medium-low speed (2 o’clock).  As mixture begins to thicken, increase speed to 6 o’clock.  Whip until just past soft peaks, or to desired consistency.

To assemble:  Break 3/4 of meringues into pieces and place in a large bowl.  Gently fold in whipped cream mixture and a couple spoonfuls of strawberries.  Spoon into serving bowls.  Crush up remaining meringue and top desserts, along with rest of strawberries.  Serve immediately.

6-8 servings

 

 

Published by

Carmi Adams

Carmi Adams has loved cooking from a very early age; requesting fondue pots and cookbooks for birthdays as a child. She further pursued her passion for food at the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained a degree in Culinary Arts. Carmi landed a job on the show Good Eats, which aired on the Food Network. For seven years she did everything from food research, recipe development and testing, product testing to feeding a hungry film crew. Now living in the central coast of California, Carmi enjoys the bounty of agriculture, vineyards and farmers markets at her culinary disposal. She has been using the Ankarsrum mixer for over 15 years and feels that it is hands-down the best on the market for home cooks.