Eton Mess with Summer Berries
Eton mess is a traditional British dessert that’s wonderfully lazy. Anyone can do it and everyone loves it. You don’t have to be good at making pastries or baking. Your meringues can be overcooked or misshapen, but no matter—whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit will make up for everything.
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) plus 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar
- Pinch of coarse salt
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) blackberries
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) raspberries
- 2 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) hulled and sliced strawberries
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) heavy cream, whipped
- Mint leaves for garnish
Preheat an oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the egg whites and 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar. Set over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the sugar completely dissolves into the egg whites. Remove the bowl from the pan. Stir in the salt and cream of tartar.
Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer). Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Dollop large spoonfuls of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Bake until the meringues are crisp to the touch, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool completely in the oven, at least 1 hour.
In a bowl, stir together the blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, the 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar and the lemon juice. Set aside to macerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
To assemble, break the meringue into pieces. Layer the whipped cream and berries in each of 10 individual glasses or bowls. Top with the meringue pieces, garnish with the mint leaves and serve immediately. Serves 10.
Adapted from The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries, by Ben Towill, Phil Winser, Nicole Franzen, Nick Wilber and Julia Turshen (Rizzoli, 2014)