If a dessert has the name mess in the title you know it's going to be worth your while. Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert composed of meringues, whipped cream and strawberries and has been around since the 1890's, according to Wikipedia. You cannot go wrong with this combination of creamy, crunchy, sweet and fruity. It is delicious and so perfectly balanced. The best part is you can make this dessert in about 10 minutes with the help of store bought meringues.
We can all use a short cut from time to time and these Vanilla Meringues from Trader Joe's are my secret weapon for this recipe. There are piped beautifully and that hint of vanilla is a nice addition. Traditionally an Eton mess is made with strawberries, but I added some raspberries and kumquats to give it some bright flavor notes.
16 store bought meringues
2 cups heavy cream, cold
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
1 pint raspberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Candied Kumquats, optional
Combine 2/3 of the strawberries and raspberries in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the berries and gently mash with a spoon until the juices are released and the mixture is still chunky. Set aside. In a bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the cold cream, sugar and vanilla and whisk until soft peaks are formed. Coarsely chop the meringues and spoon 1/2 of the chopped meringues at the bottom of 4 serving glasses, Spoon or pipe 1/2 of the whipped cream on top of the meringues, followed with the berry mixture and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Finish by garnishing the tops with the remaining berries, 1 whole meringue and kumquats, if desired. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
**For the candied kumquats, combine 8 oz. halved and seeded kumquats with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temp. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Eton mess is best eaten the day of so the meringues don't get too soft.
Try using chocolate meringues and cherries for a Black Forest variation or adding lemon zest to the heavy cream and using blueberries instead.
This recipe can be made in a serving bowl or trifle bowl instead of individual glasses.
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