Perfect Meringues and Eton Mess

Eton Mess is a really classic British dessert, which with the traditional combination of softly whipped cream, fragments of crisp and light meringue and soft fruit at it’s absolute peak, giving a wonderfully summery feel. I’ve included a really simple recipe for meringues which are pretty much guaranteed to give you a wonderful light and crisp result, and will hopefully convert you from ever buying powdery and dry ready made meringues.

 

 

Meringues

Makes 28

Ingredients

3 large fresh egg whites
A pinch of salt
175g or 6 oz caster sugar

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 130°C (fan oven)/ 140°C/ 275 Fahrenheit/ gas mark 1 and line two large baking sheets with silicone paper or baking parchment

These meringues are supposed to be light and crisp all the way through, instead of being crisp on the outside, with a chewy marshmallow centre. If you want more of a chewy pavlova feel, then add a dessert spoon of cornflour and a dash of white wine vinegar to the meringue mixture.

There’s no need to worry about whisking egg whites. As long as you ensure that no egg yolk gets into the whites, and that the bowl you’re whisking them in is completely clean by whipping it over with half a lemon. I separate my whites by carefully breaking the egg in half and then tipping the yolk between the two halves of the egg shell, over an empty clean bowl. Separating the whites individually into a small bowl before tipping them into your large mixing bowl means that even if you get a little yolk in the white, it only contaminates one egg yolk, rather than all three yolks. Place the three egg whites into your large clean bowl, and add a pinch of salt, which helps to stabilise the whites while you whisk them to soft peaks. You want the whites to be stable enough to not slide when you tip the bowl but don’t be tempted to over whisk at this stage as the whites might collapse.

Once the whites are at this point, you can start adding your caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is incorporated. To give a really smooth meringue, you want to keep whisking until the sugar dissolves. To check this, simply stop whisking and rub the mixture between your fingers, and if the sugar has dissolved, the mixture will feel completely smooth and the sugar granules will have disappeared. You also want the whites to be so stiff that you can hold the mixing bowl above your head, without covering yourself in meringue.

To shape the meringues, you can either pipe the mixture into smooth blobs or dollop the mixture onto the baking sheet using two dessertspoons to shape them. I go for piping the mixture, using a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. As always, I use my usual method of placing the piping bag into a vase, and then scraping the mixture against the side of the bag to make filling the piping bag that bit easier. Once you have dolloped or piped the meringue onto the baking tray, smooth out any points using a damp finger. Smoothing these points gives you a more perfect meringue as it prevents these points from burning.

Once you are happy with you meringues, place the baking trays into the pre-heated oven and turn the oven off immediately and leave the meringues to dry out overnight, to give a really light and crisp, perfectly white meringues. If you want you meringues to have a little colour, place the baking trays into the oven, allow them to cook for forty minutes, and then turn the oven off, and again leave the meringues there to dry out for as long as possible

 

You can serve you meringue sandwiched together with whipped cream or make the classic British dessert of Eton Mess.

Eton Mess

Serves 4

Ingredients

275ml or half a pint of whipping cream
5ml vanilla extract
12 meringues
300g soft fruit, traditionally strawberries but I used raspberries

Method

Eton mess is very much a thrown together dessert, and as the name suggests, it should an organic mixture of softly whipped cream, sweet crumbled meringues and fresh fruit. With that in mind, the quantities are very much a guide and you should feel free to swap in any combinations of fruit you like. You could opt for mango and passion fruit, ripe slices of peach with a few basil leaves or strawberries macerated in a little caster sugar and top quality balsamic vinegar.

I used raspberries in my Eton mess this time around simply because they looked so lovely. I went for the pure taste of the fresh raspberries but if you like, you could always add a handful of toasted desiccated coconut or even some torn mint leaves. For tips on how to toast coconut, take a look at my post on coconut and ginger flapjacks

 

Whisk the cream and vanilla until it reaches soft peaks. If you want a slightly sour taste, you could substitute some of the cream with crème fraiche. Once you’re happy with the consistency of the whipped cream, crumble in ten of the meringues, together with most of the fruit. Mix together, trying not to over mix so that everything is gently rippled together

Serve the Eton mess, topped with a little more crumbled meringue and a little more of the fruit. Enjoy and imagine that you are at the height of British summertime, on the one day when the sky is brilliantly blue

Comments
13 Responses to “Perfect Meringues and Eton Mess”
  1. One of my absolute favourite’s!!! The more, meringue the merrier!

  2. mydearbakes says:

    Great recipe! Very detailed!

  3. I am going to make this in a couple of weeks with this years rhubarb. Thank you.

  4. I got meringues left-over from my lemon cake.. this is the perfect recipe for them! I love the name too!

  5. smokley says:

    Hi, since I enjoy your site and blog posts, I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award.

  6. Laurie says:

    Looks like a fun dessert! The meringues remind me of Forgotten Cookies or Forget-Me-Nots, but those have chocolate chips and nuts in them. You may have inspired me to put the cookies in my next blog. Now I’m hungry for some sweets.

  7. omg… i just ate this twice over the weekend in Somerset. It was divine. I’m going to have to make and post sometime this year. I love it with raspberries.
    I’ve made and consumed pavlova but somehow this was different.

  8. sybaritica says:

    I never heard of Eton Mess until years after I left England. Still haven’t had it yet… it looks great.

    P.S. Love the Blog Title!

    • You don’t need to be England to whip up some meringues and throw together an eton mess. It’s one of those wonderful desserts that is very freeform and doesn’t really have any specific restrictions. You can pretty much use whatever fruit you like and add in extras like toasted almonds or roasted oats. I hope you get to try one out sometime soon and thanks for your lovely comment

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] I was looking at a post by Big Hungry Gnomes about a tempting-looking dessert, called Eaton Mess. That dessert is made with little meringues […]



Leave A Comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: