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Among English desserts, Eton Mess has the marks of a tradition: a story of how it came into being, events where people expect it to be served, and wide name recognition. Being traditional doesn’t make it a delicious dessert. It is one. But proof of the pudding is, of course, in the taste. Fortunately, giving this one a personal trial is the work of a few minutes and you may determine its deliciousness for yourself.
You will also need:
1. An electric mixer.
2. A baking sheet.
3. A piece of parchment paper to line the baking sheet.
4. A food processor or blender.
5. 8 glasses or ramekins for serving the dessert.
For the meringues (makes about 10 large meringues):
Prepare meringues a day ahead because the baking time for the meringues is 6 hours, plus several more hours for cooling in the turned-off oven.
1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. (The meringues used for this recipe baked in an oven set at 170 F.)
2. Put the egg whites into a medium size bowl Beat the egg whites using your mixer until they are foamy. Continue to beat and add the sugar.
3. Beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy white.
4. With an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, place mounds of the meringue mixture (about 1/2 cup for each mound) on the baking sheet that you’ve lined with parchment paper.
5. Put them in the oven and bake them for about 6 hours, or until they are hard, release easily from the papered baking sheet and sound hollow. Then turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool in it for several hours.
6. Store the meringues in a sealed container lined with paper towels. They prefer being in a cool place.
For preparing the Eton Mess:
The strawberries may be cut and pureed in advance; the cream should be whipped and everything mixed together right before it’s time to serve the dessert.
1. Chop half of the berries and put them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside.
2. Puree the other half of the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a blender or food processor. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the strawberry puree in a small bowl. Set both containers of puree aside.
3. Crumble 8 meringues into a bowl. If, because of the weather or a tricky oven, some of the meringues’ centers are a bit sticky, remove that part, and use the dry part.
4. When it is time to serve the dessert, whip the cream in a large bowl until it forms floppy waves and peaks that don’t move around the bowl easily but, at the same time, aren’t stiff. Whip a little more and add 2 tablespoons of sugar (2 tablespoons of sugar will result in a lightly sweetened cream—add a little more for a sweeter one).
5. Into the whipped cream, add the crumbled meringues and the chopped berries with their juice and fold them around in the cream—in a desultory or haphazard fashion. Do the same with all but the reserved 4 tablespoons of the strawberry puree. The dessert should be streaky with fruit and cream … not homogeneous.
6. If you are decorating the desserts with whole fresh strawberries, remove the stems, cut them in half or in quarters, almost all the way through, and open them out with your fingers. Divide the Eton Mess between the serving glasses or ramekins, tip a little of the reserved strawberry puree over each with a small spoon, and decorate with the fresh strawberries.
Note: In the photo, all the puree has been folded into the Eton Mess. Photos of the Eton Mess served in glasses with some of the strawberry puree spooned over them are on the related blog link.
I chose to use semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate, so that the chocolate flavor would really punch through. This provided the perfect balance of chocolate to make the whole frosting completely “milk chocolate” in flavor.
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Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!