I have been wanting to post Eton Mess for a long time. So when I was approached by Marissa Hermer (Ladies of London), and asked if I’d be willing to try out one of her recipes from her new book, An American Girl in London, I was excited to find Eton Mess in the “pudding”, (dessert) section. It took me about 20 seconds to know that was the recipe I wanted to try! (As an Amazon Affiliate I earn commission on qualifying purchases. Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Marissa’s book to keep and review. As always, my opinions are my own, and I was not under any obligation to right a favorable review.)
I don’t know about you, but even though I have a kindle, there’s something really special about a beautiful book. I was intrigued by the title, because I was once An American Girl in London too! Marissa is a California girl who now lives in London with her restaurateur husband and three children.
When I received the book in the mail, it took just a couple of minutes to thumb through the pages, for me to get excited, because I knew I was going to like it. When I finally was able to sit down a couple of hours later (with a cup of tea of course), I didn’t get up again for another hour.
So many things to love about this book. First of all, the pictures are gorgeous. I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want a cookbook for recipes, I actually love the stories that accompany recipes, and beautiful photos are a must! Marissa’s book ticked all the boxes for me! I also love that she has taken traditional British recipes, and given them a California spin, her take on English classics. Of course you’ll find lots of traditional recipes too. (Her mother-in-law’s cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches are next on my list!)
The recipes are easy to follow, and each one comes with a bit of a story about how she came up with the recipe, and what her changes are. For example, her Shepherd’s Pie recipe is topped with sweet potato mash for a healthier version of a classic recipe. She also accurately notes that Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with ground lamb and not beef! This attention to detail is nice. It doesn’t hurt that she’s cute as a button either!
What is Eton Mess?
I love how it got its name, since I actually went to an Eton-Harrow cricket match when I lived there. Apparently at the annual match, the beautiful meringue dessert was dropped. (Probably after one too many Pimm’s Cups!) The dessert was salvaged with whipped cream and berries. It’s a great story, and I love Marissa’s take on it! Meringues were the very first thing I remember making when I was a young teenager. Just egg whites and sugar, what could be easier?
Ingredients for Eton Mess
The traditional recipe for Eton Mess is just three ingredients; meringues, fresh whipped cream and fresh berries. This recipe uses Greek yogurt to lighten the cream, which at first I was a bit skeptical of, but I really loved the tang the yogurt gives to the whipped cream. Tip: use real Greek yogurt, as it’s definitely thicker and tastier than regular yogurt. So easy, yet so light and pretty, even if the word “mess” is in the name!
Rose-scented whipped cream
The recipe also calls for rose water, which is totally optional, but gives it a nice light floral undertone. I just happened to have both rose water and rose petals from my mom’s Rose Shortbread, so I was able to follow the recipe exactly. (Because there’s nothing more annoying than someone writing a cookbook review, saying they made a few changes and then writing that the recipe didn’t turn out!)
While I was assembling all the ingredients, I thought you could even put out all the ingredients separately, and have a variety of fresh berries, then everyone could make their own “pudding”. This would be a great shower or Mother’s Day dessert idea.
Can you use store-bought meringues for Eton Mess?
If you really don’t feel like up to making meringues, purchase store or bakery meringues. Trader Joe’s makes delicious meringues, but you can also find them pre-made in a local bakery.
I took the opportunity to pull out Spencer’s grandmother’s Limoges china, which never gets used. (It’s a little too girly for my taste). Her set just happened to have fruit bowls, so why not? You could also use champagne glasses or small ramekins.
How far in advance can you make Eton Mess?
If you’re making Eton Mess for a party, it is a great recipe to make in advance. The meringues can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container. Wash and hull the berries and refrigerate until ready to assemble. The cream can be prepared several hours in advance, covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Eton Mess with Strawberry Meringues
- One batch meringues see recipe below
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1 teaspoon rose water optional
- 1/4 cup icing sugar sifted (powdered sugar)
- 2 cups strawberries
- 2 Tablespoons freeze-dried strawberries for garnish optional
- 1 Tablespoon rose petals chopped for garnish (optional)
- Mint leaves for garnish
- In a large bowl, whisk the cream until thickened.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth, then fold through the whipped cream, vanilla bean seeds (or extract), rose water (optional) and icing (powdered sugar).
- Roughly chop the strawberries, reserving a few for garnish.
- To assemble, roughly break up the meringues. Begin by layering the cream, berries, and meringue in bowls or glasses. Repeat the layering, then garnish with strawberries, freeze-dried berries (if using) and rose petals (if using), and mint.
How to make Strawberry Meringues
Now on to the meringues. These Strawberry Meringues have a bit of strawberry jam and food coloring. If you don’t like using artificial dyes, I’ve found food coloring that is made from natural ingredients you can find it here. (affiliate link for your convenience) After you’ve whipped the whites to a stiff peaks, you’ll remove about a quarter of the meringue and fold in the strawberry jam and coloring. Then you’ll fold the strawberry meringue back into the rest of the meringue.
If you have more meringue left over, pipe out small rosettes for garnish.
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.
- Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Place the egg white into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and the cream of tartar. Whip until the mixture has stiff peaks and is glossy and smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Place the strawberry jam and food coloring in a large bowl and stir thorough one-quarter of the meringue mixture. Fold the pink meringue through the remaining meringue.
- Using 2 Tablespoons, place six to eight 1/2 cup scoops of meringue onto the parchment paper, swirling it around with the spatula until you have a peaked meringue. Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool in the oven.
The meringues will be broken up, so they are quite large, and don’t need to be perfect.
I think you’ll love Eton Mess and the recipes in An American Girl in London.