Sometimes presentation is overrated. Eton Mess is a British dessert that's an unapologetic mishmash of fruit, cream and crumbled meringues folded together and plunked in a glass or bowl. It's the kind of mix that appeals to kids and adults alike. While you might call it messy, there's no denying its swoon-worthy results: a mound of ethereal whipped cream punctuated by crispy bits of sugary meringue and chunks of juicy strawberries.
You can't go wrong with this recipe. It's simple and a great way to highlight the season's fresh berries. While strawberries are a traditional ingredient, you can also add raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. In this recipe, I combine mascarpone cheese with the whipped cream, which adds extra richness and body to the cream and also stabilizes it, so you can assemble the dessert three to four hours before serving. This makes the perfect party dessert for a casual Memorial Day bash.
Strawberry (Eton) Mess
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 pound fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 (1-inch) meringue buttons, coarsely crumbled
Set aside 3 unblemished strawberries. Hull and quarter the remaining berries; place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to coat and set aside.
Whip the cream and mascarpone in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until it begins to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and the vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold the quartered strawberries into the cream and then fold in the meringue buttons with any of the sugary dust.
Gently spoon the mixture into individual serving glasses or small bowls. Cut the reserved strawberries in half lengthwise and arrange on top of the cream as a garnish. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving.
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