Eton mess: it's a fabulous dessert with a funny name. Layered up with all things red, white, and blue, it's also the perfect sweet for Fourth of July celebrations. I discovered Eton mess while on a trip to England last Summer. It's as classic as apple pie. I was hooked immediately. The dessert gets its name from its origins at Eton College, a boarding school in the English countryside. I imagine it's called a "mess" since, when you mix up, its three traditional ingredients — strawberries, whipped cream, and meringue — look messy. The taste, however, is nothing short of dreamy.
For Fourth of July, I've prettied things up by adding raspberries and blueberries to the mix and layering the ingredients in clear glasses. The only real work involved is whipping cream and cutting strawberries. Precision isn't important with this dessert, so feel free to riff on quantities and scale the recipe up or down depending on how many guests will be at your table. There's a playful bit of irony in serving a very English dessert on a holiday that celebrates victory over our English rivals. While the Brits may have lost the Revolutionary War, they succeeded in making the Eton mess. Enjoy!
Eton Mess Parfaits
In the interest of simplicity, this recipe calls for store-bought meringues, which are sold in many supermarkets and specialty food stores (I found them at Trader Joe's). Feel free to make your own meringues if the mood strikes.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 cup hulled, chopped strawberries
1 1/4 cups roughly crumbled meringue cookies
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
4 (8-ounce) juice glasses or jelly jars
- Pour the cream into a medium bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, and whip until thick with soft peaks.
- Spoon the strawberries into the bottom of the glasses. Layer a few spoonfuls of whipped cream in each glass to cover the strawberries. Divide a few spoonfuls of crushed meringue in each glass. Spoon the blueberries over the meringue. Top with the remaining whipped cream, followed by the remaining meringue. Finish with the raspberries. Serve with long teaspoons.