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RECIPE: Eton Mess, A School Tradition

In recognition of back-to-school recipes, we offer the Eton Mess.

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of strawberries, pieces of meringue and whipped cream. It is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against rival Harrow School (both are among the most prestigious secondary schools in the U.K.), and on any other day that one wants to eat it.

The recipe has been known by this name since the 19th century. Variations include bananas instead of strawberries and a scoop of ice cream, which actually preceded the addition of the meringues.

Why is it called a “mess?” According to Merriam-Webster, the word may refer to the appearance of the dish or may be used in the older sense of a prepared dish of soft food.

The recipe version below was sent to us by Safest Choice pasteurized eggs—the eggs to use when the recipe requires eggs that aren’t cooked, like Caesar salad, eggnog, mousse and steak tartare. (You can also pasteurize eggs at home.)

   
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A mess indeed, but a delicious mess! Photo courtesy SharedAppetite.com.

 
The recipe was developed by Chris of SharedAppetite.com, who added his own touch: a garnish of a chocolate-covered strawberry in addition to the diced strawberries in the Mess. Active time is 20 minutes, total time is 1 hour. You can save time buy buying the meringues, if you can get your hands on good quality ones. Since they will be smashed, you can substitute Pavlovas (individual meringue dessert cups).

RECIPE: ETON MESS

Ingredients For 4 Servings

For The Chocolate Chip Meringues

  • 4 egg whites, ideally pasteurized
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips
  •  
    For The Chocolate Covered strawberries

  • 2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped dark chocolate
  • Garnish: 8 chocolate covered strawberries (instructions below)
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/crushed meringues eton mess sharedappetitecom 230
    Crushed meringues give the dish texture. Photo courtesy SharedAppetite.com.

     

    For The Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 275°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy and soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat, adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until all the sugar has been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. The meringue is done when the peaks are stiff, hold their shape, and no grit is felt from the sugar. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate.

    2. LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Drop the meringues by the spoonful (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the meringue easily peels away from the parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack. Meringues can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for several days.

     

    3. MAKE the chocolate-covered strawberries. Melt the chocolate in a microwave; dip the whole strawberries and set on wax paper or parchment to dry.

    4. COMBINE the diced strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract in a small mixing bowl. Let sit for approximately 15-30 minutes to macerate.

    5. MAKE the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. To avoid splashing, start on a lower speed and increase the speed as the whipped cream begins to take shape. Beat to the desired stiffness. If you won’t be using it right away, cover and place in the refrigerator. It will keep for several hours, and might need a quick whip with a whisk to regain its shape.

    6. BREAK 8-12 meringues by hand: A good variety of big and small pieces creates good texture in the dessert.

    7. LAYER approximately 1/2 cup whipped cream in 8 dessert bowls. Top with a few spoonfuls of macerated strawberries, and a generous sprinkling of dark chocolate and crushed meringues. Top with a chocolate covered strawberry and serve.
      




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