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Image for Recipe - Eton Mess

Eton Mess

Image for Recipe - Eton Mess
  • Time preparation 25 minutes
  • cook time 2 hours
  • Serve Serves 6

The most important element of an Eton mess is the strawberries, which must be the finest you can get. A close second is the meringue. Yes, you could easily use shop-bought meringues, but they won’t be nearly as good as these chewy, crunchy ones you can make yourself. And the Mascarpone gives the cream a wonderful richness and smooth finish

Recipe taken from Giffords Circus Cookbook by Nell Gifford & Ols Halas (Quadrille, Hardback and EBook) Photography: David Loftus
  • 300g strawberries
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Strips of lemon zest
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
  • 400ml double cream
  • 200g mascarpone
  • For the meringue:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 230g icing sugar
  • Special kit:
  • Piping bag with a 2-cm plain nozzle/tip
  • 2 baking sheets, lined with greaseproof baking parchment

For the meringue, preheat the oven to 120°C/Fan 100°C/ Gas 1 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

In an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until the whites begin to froth and are almost at the softpeak stage, then begin slowly tapping in the caster sugar, while still whisking.

Keep whisking until the meringue is super thick, then remove the bowl from the mixer. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, folding it in gently and ensuring there are no lumps of sugar left.

Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the baking tray in one single shape and bake for 2 hours, or until slightly coloured and very crisp.

The rest is very simple. Put half the strawberries in a heatproof bowl with the sugar, lemon zest and scraped vanilla pod, cover tightly with clingfilm and poach over a pan of simmering water for about 30 minutes until the strawberries start to shrivel.

Doing it this way keeps all the flavour in and when you pop that clingfilm open, you get the most miraculous smell!

Remove the vanilla pod and strips of zest and blend a few large spoonfuls of the strawberries in a blender to make a coulis, then put this and the rest of the strawberries in the fridge to chill.

In a large bowl, whip the cream, mascarpone and vanilla seeds to stiff peaks. Add most of the fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, and crumble in nearly all the meringue.

Pile onto a dish or cake stand and scatter over the poached strawberries, followed by more fresh strawberries, more meringue and finally the coulis.

Ingredients

  • 300g strawberries
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Strips of lemon zest
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
  • 400ml double cream
  • 200g mascarpone
  • For the meringue:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 230g icing sugar
  • Special kit:
  • Piping bag with a 2-cm plain nozzle/tip
  • 2 baking sheets, lined with greaseproof baking parchment

Method

For the meringue, preheat the oven to 120°C/Fan 100°C/ Gas 1 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

In an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until the whites begin to froth and are almost at the softpeak stage, then begin slowly tapping in the caster sugar, while still whisking.

Keep whisking until the meringue is super thick, then remove the bowl from the mixer. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, folding it in gently and ensuring there are no lumps of sugar left.

Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the baking tray in one single shape and bake for 2 hours, or until slightly coloured and very crisp.

The rest is very simple. Put half the strawberries in a heatproof bowl with the sugar, lemon zest and scraped vanilla pod, cover tightly with clingfilm and poach over a pan of simmering water for about 30 minutes until the strawberries start to shrivel.

Doing it this way keeps all the flavour in and when you pop that clingfilm open, you get the most miraculous smell!

Remove the vanilla pod and strips of zest and blend a few large spoonfuls of the strawberries in a blender to make a coulis, then put this and the rest of the strawberries in the fridge to chill.

In a large bowl, whip the cream, mascarpone and vanilla seeds to stiff peaks. Add most of the fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, and crumble in nearly all the meringue.

Pile onto a dish or cake stand and scatter over the poached strawberries, followed by more fresh strawberries, more meringue and finally the coulis.

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