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Eton Mess is an English chilled dessert celebrating long summer days at garden parties, picnics and outdoor gatherings.
This naturally gluten-free dessert is a combination of flavoured meringues crumbled together with fresh strawberries, coulis and whipped cream.
Rose essence is added to further enhance the meringues and coulis, however, feel free to omit this if you prefer the classic flavours.
The mini meringues can be made ahead of time making Eton Mess a super-fast dessert to assemble.
If you know of reliable store-bought or perhaps bakery-made meringues that have no gluten in them, then you’ll be able to turn this dessert around in under 15 mins.
Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
Platinum Jubilee starts on Thursday 2 June for four days, marking 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
As with many celebrations, food plays a big part in the festivities as plenty of people are planning Jubilee party food to serve at either their neighbourhood street party or garden party.
Eton Mess is a top choice to serve as a chilled dessert, being practical, refreshing and somewhat regal.
Adding a few drops of rose essence to the mini meringues and strawberry coulis take this dessert to that quintessential English flavour.
Why is this dessert called Eton Mess?
Eton is an elite college in England where legend has it that a strawberry meringue dessert was in a picnic basket. Apparently, it was sat on at a cricket match by an overexcited Labrador dog in the 1920s. To rescue the dessert, the smashed bits were served messed up in individual bowls and loved by the cricket players.
What does Eton Mess taste like?
A spoonful of Eton Mess will take you through layers of flavours and texture – it is a magical dessert experience of fresh strawberries macerated in rose strawberry coulis, mellowed with fluffy fresh whipped cream and crunchy sweet meringues.
How to serve Eton Mess
Traditionally, Eton Mess is served in individual glasses or bowls, however, there is nothing stopping from you folding the ingredients together in a large serving bowl and scooping out portions for your guests. Similar to a trifle, this is a practical way of serving a large crowd.
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment, or
- Handheld electric whisker
- Several attractive tall serving glasses, or
- Large serving bowl
- 500 g fresh strawberries washed & dried
- 400 ml heavy fresh cream (36% fat content)
- 4 egg whites (See TIP in instructions) at room temperature
- 200 g caster (granulated) sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour, sifted
- 1 tsp white or rice vinegar
For white vanilla flavoured meringues:
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For pink rose flavoured meringues:
- 1 tsp rose essence
- 4 drops pink or light red food colouring, or
- 1 tsp strawberry rose coulis* strained
Strawberry Rose Coulis
- 200 g frozen or fresh strawberries, washed & dried
- 5-6 tbsp water
- 2 tsp caster (granulated) sugar
- 1 tsp rose essence
- Preheat the oven to 100°C/210°F.
- Using a paper towel, wipe a mixer bowl and the whisk attachment with some white vinegar. This cleans and removes any oil residue from the surfaces.
- TIP: Separate each egg into two small bowls and transfer the egg white one by one to the stand mixer bowl. This prevents any accidents from happening where the egg yolk may drip into the egg white and ruin the egg whites.
- Whisk the egg whites for 2 mins or until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar gradually while the egg whites are whisking.
- Whisk for 3 mins, or until the sugar has dissolved and the whites leave a trail behind on the surface.
- Add the cornflour and vinegar. Mix in for a few seconds.
- Divide the meringue mixture into two bowls. In one bowl, mix in the vanilla extract.
- In the other bowl, combine the rose essence or coulis and food colouring.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Spoon one tablespoon of the meringue mixture onto the baking tray into 5 cm diameter swirls 3 cm apart.
- Bake for 2 hours swapping the trays around halfway through. The meringues are ready when they feel crisp to the touch and sound hollow when tapped at the base.
- Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in there for a further 2 hours. This ensures that they will be dry and crisp.
- Store them in an airtight tin until ready to make Eton Mess.
Strawberry Rose Coulis
- Slice the strawberries in half and place them in a small saucepan.
- Add the water and sugar to the pan and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to gentle simmer the mixture for 5 mins or until the strawberries have started to soften and collapse.
- Turn off the heat and add the rose essence.
- Allow to cool slightly before transferring the mixture to be blended until smooth. Set it aside.
Assembling Eton Mess in tall glasses
- Whip the cream until fluffy and thick.
- Slice the strawberries in half.
- Macerate the strawberries in the strawberry rose coulis mixture for 5 mins.
- Place a couple of cut macerated strawberries in your chosen serving bowl or glass.
- Followed by a tbsp of whipped cream.
- Top the cream with one of each flavoured meringue, crumbling them over the cream layer.
- Add another tbsp of whipped cream.
- Repeat with the same layers– strawberries, cream, meringue and cream, until the bowl or glass is full.
- Finish off by crumbling a meringue over the top layer and add one of each intact flavoured meringue and a strawberry as a garnish.
Assembling Eton Mess in a large serving bowl
- Add the crumbled mini meringues, macerated strawberries and whipped cream to the large serving bowl.
- Fold the ingredients together.
- Crumble some meringues on top of the mixture and decorate with some whole attractive strawberries.
- Serve immediately or chill for no more than 4 hours.
- Mini meringues keep for one week in an airtight tin
- Eton mess is best served on the same day as prepared
- May be chilled for no more than 4 hours
- Not suitable to freeze