Ah, Eton Mess. The creamy and delicious summer dessert combination of strawberries, crushed meringues and cream.
Eton Mess is believed to have originated from Eton School, who served it during cricket matches. One theory of how the recipe came to be is that the ingredients were accidentally mixed together when they were dropped on the floor, hence it being called ‘Eton Mess’! Another theory is that a cheeky labrador dog sat on a picnic basket containing the ingredients during a picnic, crushing them together. Either way, the dessert really is wonderful with a sprig of mint on top and a little vanilla added to the cream.
Eton Mess can be made in 5 minutes if you buy the meringues from the shop. Or if you want a challenge you could make them from scratch. I tried it for the first time when making this and it was really straightforward. I used an electric whisk but if you put some welly in to it then a regular whisk is fine. Whatever meringues you use, the kids might enjoy helping crush them up.
Although Eton Mess is traditionally made with strawberries you could try other fruit too, such as raspberries, blackberries or mango. There is even a similar dessert made with bananas called Lancing Mess. Lemon zest, liquor, elderflower cordial or ginger would work well as alternative flavours in the cream.
Eton Mess (serves 4)
400ml double cream, whisked until thick
1 tsp vanilla essence
8 ready made meringues, crushed
20 strawberries, hulled and cut smallish
Sprigs of mint, for decoration
Add the vanilla essence to the cream and mix. Mix in most of the strawberries and the crushed meringues. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture in to four glasses (any are fine) or glass ramekins. Serve garnished with the remaining strawberries and a sprig of mint.