making an eaton mess
Summer desserts are on our radar and we just can’t get enough of berry season, so we are making an eaton mess!
This traditional English dessert is so simple and can be customized in various ways to fit all the favor profiles in attendance at your backyard summer gatherings.
Note: Tossing a few blueberries in the mix will make a beautiful red, white and blue eaton mess, perfect for Independence Day.
Let’s begin with the meringue
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- dash of salt
- Place egg whites in a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to egg whites and beat at medium speed until foamy.
- Gradually add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating on high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes.
- Pipe meringue (we use #32 star tip) about 1 1/4″ diameter, 2″ apart on parchment and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until firm to touch. Turn off the oven, leaving the meringues inside with the door closed for about an hour. Cool completely in oven to ensure crispness.
You can make meringues a day ahead and store in an airtight container.
The berries and cream
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, plus a few whole berries for garnish
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- In medium bowl, mix berries and sugar together. Allow to macerate while whipping the cream.
- Whip cream in large bowl until thick but still soft. Break meringues and gently fold into cream or add meringues when serving, your preference.
- Serve in individual bowls, alternating cream, broken meringue and berries, garnish with whole berry on top.
Other fun ideas
- Pureé half the berries and gently fold into the whipped cream.
- Macerate berries in sugar and a touch of liqueur for an adult version of the dessert, before adding to bowl.
- Set up ingredients with different berry selections and have guests create their own masterpiece.
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Karie Engels is an author, founder and publisher of Basil & Salt Magazine. She enjoys a quiet life in a small farmhouse in Washington state with her quarrelsome cat.