Tag Archives: strawberries

Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

Dessert glasses filled with Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

There is much folklore over the origins of Eton Mess, a parfait-like dessert that is named for the prestigious English college in Berkshire, England, across the River Thames from Windsor.

Traditionally served at Eton College’s annual June celebration event, how the Eton Mess dessert was originally created is material for folklore and legend.  One such story involves an over-exuberant Labrador jumping on a picnic basket at a cricket match at Eton, crushing the pavlova inside and making it look like, well, a “mess”.  Hence, the name “Eton Mess”.

Another story is that parents of an Eton student were transporting a pavlova to him but, on arrival, it had not weathered the trip well and had collapsed into, you guessed it, a “mess”.  Truth or fiction to either story – who knows but one thing is for certain and that is that the Eton Mess dessert has been associated with the famous Eton school for decades.

Close-up of Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert
Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

There are various and sundry ways to construct the British-inspired Eton Mess summertime dessert.  Made with only three simple ingredients – fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and crumbled meringue nests – this dessert is best prepared in tall glass dessert dishes so the red and white layers show.

Two Eton Mess Desserts in glass pedestal dishes
Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

Some fold all the macerated berry mixture into the whipping cream-meringue mixture. Others layer the dessert – part of the crushed berries followed by part of the whipped cream mixture, more crushed berries, and the remainder of the whipping cream mixture.  I prefer to keep the whipped cream mixture white, versus turning it pink with too much strawberry. So, I simply and carefully fold a bit of the crushed berries into the whipped cream-meringue mixture and distribute the rest of the berries in the bottoms of the dessert glasses topped with the whipped cream mixture.  A couple of meringues crumbled over the tops of the desserts adds a little extra crunch.

Close-up of Eton Mess Dessert
Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

I make my own meringue nests because they are not difficult to make and I like to have them really fresh although they can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer. Pre-made meringue nests can be purchased from bakeries or supermarkets and will work in this dessert as well.

Meringue Nests
Meringue Nests

Whether by design or accident, the creation of the happy “mess”, known as Eton Mess, is a brilliant summer dessert that has stood the test of time.  It’s an absolutely lovely summer dessert and a great way to serve those fresh local berries when they are in season.

Pedestal dessert glass filled with Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Eton Mess Dessert

Ingredients:

1 lb strawberries, hulled and washed
2 tbsp caster sugar (aka berry sugar or instant dissolving sugar)
1½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream (35% MF)
¼ cup sifted icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
¾ tsp pure vanilla

6 meringue nests (ready made or from recipe below)

Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Method:

Slice or quarter 8 oz of the berries in bowl. Loosely crush with food masher. Add 2 tbsp caster sugar along with the lemon juice and let berries sit for about 15 minutes to release their juice. Slice half of the remaining berries (apx. 4 oz) and add to the crushed berries. Stir. Reserve remainder of strawberries for garnish.

In chilled bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream on medium speed while slowly adding the icing sugar and then the vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Do not beat to stiff peak stage – the whipped cream is meant to be soft (but not soupy) in this dessert. Remove bowl from mixer stand.

Break or chop 4 meringue nests into bite-size pieces and add to the whipped cream by using a rubber spatula to fold in the meringue pieces. Fold about ½ cup of the crushed berry mixture into the whipping cream and meringue mixture. Make 2-3 quick folds with the rubber spatula to incorporate the berries but do not overmix or whipping cream will turn pink.

Spoon the remaining crushed berry mixture, divided equally, into bottom of glass pedestal dessert dishes. Divide the meringue mixture evenly between the dessert glasses. Crumble remaining 2 meringues over the tops of the desserts and garnish each with remaining sliced strawberries. Add a sprig of fresh mint to each dessert, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

A simple, naturally gluten-free, summer parfait dessert made with fresh strawberries, meringues, and whipped cream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Eton Mess, strawberries, Strawberry Eton Mess, summertime desserts
Servings 4
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and washed
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (aka berry sugar or instant dissolving sugar)
  • tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipping cream (35% MF)
  • ¼ cup sifted icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
  • ¾ tsp pure vanilla
  • 6 meringue nests (ready made or homemade)
  • Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slice or quarter 8 oz of the strawberries in bowl. Loosely crush with food masher. Add 2 tbsp caster sugar along with the lemon juice and let berries sit for about 15 minutes to release their juice. Slice half of the remaining berries (apx. 4 oz) and add to the crushed berries. Stir. Reserve remainder of strawberries for garnish.

  2. In chilled bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream on medium speed while slowly adding the icing sugar and then the vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Do not beat to stiff peak stage – the whipped cream is meant to be soft (but not soupy) in this dessert. Remove bowl from mixer stand.

  3. Break or chop 4 meringue nests into bite-size pieces and add to the whipped cream by using a rubber spatula to fold in the meringue pieces. Fold about ½ cup of the crushed berry mixture into the whipping cream and meringue mixture. Make 2-3 quick folds with a rubber spatula to incorporate the berries but do not overmix or whipping cream will turn pink.

  4. Spoon the remaining crushed berry mixture, divided equally, into bottom of glass pedestal dessert dishes. Divide the meringue mixture evenly between the dessert dishes. Crumble remaining 2 meringues over the tops of the desserts and garnish each with remaining sliced strawberries. Add a sprig of fresh mint to each dessert, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 4 servings

Meringue Nests

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup caster sugar (aka berry sugar or instant dissolving sugar)
¼ tsp almond flavoring

Method:

With heavy marker, draw six 3” circles, about 1½ “apart, on parchment paper the size of baking sheet. Flip parchment sheet over on to cookie sheet so the marked side of the parchment is on the underside and won’t transfer onto the meringues. The marked circles should still be visible as templates. Preheat oven to 225°F.

Place eggs in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar and salt. Whip on medium low speed until eggs become frothy.

Increase mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar slowly and gradually, a tablespoon at a time. Add the almond flavoring. Increase speed to high and continue to whip the meringue until it is stiff, about 5-8 minutes.

Fill large pastry bag, fitted with a large open star decorating tip (e.g., Wilton 8B), with the meringue mixture. Pipe into 3” circles, using the template on the parchment paper, first outlining the outer edge of the circle then filling in the centre with another smaller circle of meringue. Add one more layer of meringue piped on the top of the outer edge of the circle. This will form a shallow cavity in the centre of the meringue nest for filling, if desired. Alternatively, the meringues can be dropped by large tablespoonful onto parchment paper and swirled with the back of the spoon, creating a cavity in centre.

Bake for approximately 1¼ – 1½ hours, or until meringues appear dry, crisp, and hard and can easily be peeled from the parchment paper but are not brown on the underneath side. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely for at least 2 hours or longer to prevent the meringues from cracking due to the shock of temperature change.

Use immediately or store between layers of parchment paper in airtight container on counter or in refrigerator or, for longer storage, in the freezer.

Yield: 6 – 3” meringue nests

Meringue Nests

These meringue nests are perfect filled with a favorite curd or other filling and topped with fresh fruit. May also be crumbed into desserts such as Eton Mess.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword meringue cookies, meringue nests, meringues
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ cup caster sugar (aka berry sugar or instant dissolving sugar)
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring

Instructions

  1. With heavy marker, draw six 3” circles, about 1½“ apart, on parchment paper the size of baking sheet. Flip parchment sheet over on to baking sheet so the marked side of the parchment is on the underside and won’t transfer onto the meringues. The marked circles should still be visible as templates. Preheat oven to 225°F.

  2. Place eggs in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar and salt. Whip on medium low speed until eggs become frothy.
  3. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar slowly and gradually, a tablespoon at a time. Add the almond flavoring. Increase speed to high and continue to whip the meringue until it is stiff, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Fill large pastry bag, fitted with a large open star decorating tip (e.g., Wilton 8B), with the meringue mixture. Pipe into 3” circles, using the template on the parchment paper, first outlining the outer edge of the circle then filling in the centre with another smaller circle of meringue. Add one more layer of meringue piped on the top of the outer edge of the circle. This will form a shallow cavity in the centre of the meringue nest for filling, if desired. Alternatively, the meringues can be dropped by large tablespoonful onto parchment paper and swirled with the back of the spoon, creating a cavity in centre.
  5. Bake for approximately 1¼ - 1½ hours, or until meringues appear dry, crisp, and hard and can easily be peeled from the parchment paper but are not brown on the underneath side. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely for at least 2 hours or longer to prevent the meringues from cracking due to the shock of temperature change.
  6. Use immediately or store between layers of parchment paper in airtight container on counter or in refrigerator or, for longer storage, in the freezer.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 6 – 3” meringue nests

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Strawberry Eton Mess in glass dessert dishes
Strawberry Eton Mess Dessert

For other desserts from My Island Bistro Kitchen featuring strawberries, click on the links below:

Glazed Strawberry Pie
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream