The Eton Mess is one of the easiest desserts on the planet, AND it can look totally messy and you don’t have to worry about it, because it’s already in the name and it’ll taste good no matter what! As you can see, I spilled all over my serving tray and everyone managed to survive…
This recipe also kicks off one thing I have always wanted to do – “Cook the Cover” of all of my favorite cookbooks! As you can see above, we are clearly channeling the cover of Ina Garten’s “How Easy Is That?” cookbook. And clearly Ina’s desserts had a little more cream in them than fruit…Oops! But hey, it’s a fun project, and strangely enough, I don’t think I have ‘cooked the cover’ of any of my other cookbooks. I mean, the recipe on the cover of a cookbook HAS to be delicious and foolproof, right?
The Eton Mess is easily adaptable, it’s basically an equation of fresh fruit cooked down with some sugar and booze, whipped cream, and crushed meringue cookies. Super easy and a great spring/summer dessert, especially when fresh berries are in season.
Eton Mess (A Guide)
adapted from Ina Garten
- about 24 ounces of raspberries or other fruit, divided (think strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
- 1 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fruity liqueur, I used limoncello (other options: triple sec, framboise, etc)
- 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- about 1 dozen meringue cookies, crushed into small pieces (I used store-bought from trader joe’s)
Pour 12 ounces of the fruit, 1 cup of sugar, and lemon juice into a 10 inch saute pan. Crush the berries lightly with a fork and bring the mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture gets a little syrupy. Fold in about another 8 ounces of berries, set some aside to put on the tops of your Eton mess. Add the liqueur, stir, and refrigerate the hot mixture until very cold. I did this step ahead and refrigerated my mixture overnight.
With an electric mixer, beat the cream, the remaining 3 tbsp sugar (alternately, you can use powdered sugar instead of regular sugar for this), and the vanilla together on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
In decorative glasses, layer a spoonful of the whipped cream, a spoonful of the fruit mixture, and then a few meringue pieces. I found it easiest to crush my meringues in a zip-top bag instead of by hand. Repeat once or twice, depending on the size of the glasses, until the glasses are full, ending with a dollop of cream and some fresh berries. Serve immediately or chill for an hour, until ready to serve.