Eton mess (strawberries, whipped cream and meringue)
One of the simplest and most luscious desserts ever invented. How does one make an Eton mess? By making a strawberry syrup and folding it with the whipped cream and crushed meringue to get a marbled look. Some cooks prefer to simply puree the strawberries with sugar in a food processor. I like the syrup the way Tom Norrington Davies did it in Great British Food — by heating the strawberries and sugar together until the strawberries render juices, the sugar melts and a sticky syrup is formed.
Where Eton mess originated is not disputed. This strawberries, whipped cream and meringue dessert is “traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against the students of Winchester College.” But who invented it? At Yahoo! Answers, someone claims that “some one dropped a Pavlova when making lunch for the students and instead of chucking it way they mashed it into individual glasses. The students loved it and so they started to serve it regularly.”
Meringue is a cookie made with stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar. They are available in bakeries (quite cheap, really) but if you want to make your own, here’s a guide.
Once you have your meringues, you can make Eton mess.
- 150 g. to 200 g. of fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved or quartered (reserve the best two for garnish)
1/2 c. of sugar
1 c. of crushed meringue (measure after crushing them)
1 c. of whipping cream, well chilled
Place the strawberries in a microwaveable bowl. Add the sugar and stir. Heat in the microwave on HIGH for three minutes.
The mixture will be syrupy with chunks of soft strawberries. You can puree the mixture; I like to leave the chunks like that for added texture. Chill the strawberry syrup before using.
In a chilled bowl, beat the cream until double in volume.
Take your meringue. Crush them with your hand. Not into smithereens but into fairly large chunks. The pieces don’t have to be uniform. In fact, the texture of the Eton mess is better when you have small and not-too-small pieces of meringue. So, never mind about obsessing with cutting the meringue into uniform pieces.
Dump the crushed meringue into the bowl of whipped cream. Fold gently.
Pour in the chilled strawberry syrup. Fold — DO NOT OVERMIX — to create a marbled look.
Spoon into dessert glasses. Top with the reserved whole strawberries.
Cooking time (duration): 15
Number of servings (yield): 2
Meal type: dessert