Back when Jonty and I were young whippersnappers, we did the looong-distance dating thing (Saskatchewan to Yorkshire) for the first few years. To make things easier, I moved to the UK for a few multi-month stints. On one of those occasions, we lived with Jonty’s parents to save money. I realized one Pearson trait very quickly – Jonty’s family loves food. They live food. They talk about food while they’re eating food! I must not have found it very odd, because I soon joined in on the conversation, and have been talking about it ever since! It was during that period of my life when I think I finally started to get over many of my picky-eating habits (thank goodness!).
I discovered steamed puddings (oh, the treacle sponge!), fish pie, roast lamb with mint sauce, flapjack biscuits, cheese, glorious cheese, proper fish and chips, and so many other foods this prairie girl wasn’t used to. Everything was always made from scratch and, if you could elbow your way through 4 boys, seconds were encouraged.
The first time I had Eton Mess, was that summer. The second time I had Eton Mess, was 3 days later, because it was so fantastic, that everyone demanded that Jonty’s mom made it again (she may not remember this, but I do 🙂 ). I think it was one of the only times I experienced silence at the Pearson table – everyone was completely engaged in this dessert. And for good reason! Chewy meringue, local ripe-strawberries, homemade raspberry puree and whipped cream – it was fantastic!
Jonty, the Meringue Master, was mulling over making Eton Mess as a pre-birthday Birthday dessert for me a few weeks ago. What did I think? No complaints from me!
It was everything I remembered this dessert to be.
The only downside?
There wasn’t more of it!!
- Serves: 2 - 3 servings
- Serving size: ⅓ recipe
- Calories: 402
- Fat: 13.4 g
- Saturated fat: 8.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 71.1 g
- Sugar: 65.5 g
- Sodium: 34.2 mg
- Fiber: 4.6 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Cholesterol: 46.3 mg
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 180 g superfine sugar (ratio of 1.5 sugar to 1 egg white, by weight)
- ¼ tsp distilled white vinegar
- 125 mL whipping cream
- 5 - 6 good-sized strawberries, sliced
- 1½ cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- ½ tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
- Pre-heat the oven to 300°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, mix the egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute, to get a good froth. Add the white vinegar (or cream of tartar), it acts as a stabilizer.
- Keep the mixer running on medium-high and add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing for 30 seconds or so in between each sugar addition (Jonty leaves our kitchen timer running, and just watches the time).
- When all the sugar has been added, mix on high for ~8 minutes (Jonty does 2-3 minutes per egg white), until the egg whites form stiff, highly-glossy peaks. The entire process takes about 15 minutes. This recipe makes about 12 (6-cm) meringues.
- Note: Depending on the size you make the meringues, you may have more or less than this, but they are great to munch on their own 🙂
- Using a metal spoon, drop the meringues onto the parchment-lined tray and place into the oven for 1 hour, until the meringues are crisp on the outside, and soft in the centre. Leave the meringues to cool completely before assembling the Eton Mess.
- Whip the cream until you have soft peaks. Set aside. Slice the strawberries and set aside.
- Make the raspberry puree by placing the raspberries in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and let the raspberries simmer, mashing them down a bit as they cook. Once they start to thicken (about 10 minutes), remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Eton Mess can be assembled in individual glasses (as Jonty did here) or into one large bowl (like my mother-in-law did!). Break up the meringue into chunks and mix the whipped cream with the strawberries and a bit of the raspberry puree. Layer the glasses: meringue pieces, strawberry-whipped cream, raspberry puree (try to get two layers).
- Serve immediately, before the meringues soften.
Use a stainless steel mixing-bowl (no plastic!), it should be immaculately clean and completely dry!
Also, it's better if the egg whites are at room temperature (so this requires a bit of planning ahead)
Sugar and egg white ratio can be varied, this is the one we like the best!
If you don't have white vinegar, cream of tartar also works, or it can be skipped all together
Different cooking times will result in different style meringues, google can help if you're interested 🙂