This dessert is named after the college at Cambridge University in England and was invented by an Eton Old Boy and chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in the 1930s. The more memorable (yet, fictitious) story is that at the annual Eton College cricket match against Harrow School, a Labrador dog sat on a pavlova (a big meringue) loaded with strawberries and whipped cream. The hungry boys, determined to have dessert, ate it anyway and seemed to prefer it. Today, Eton Mess is served every year at the cricket match. Try this version to take advantage of in-season fruit.
1½ dozen meringue cookies
473 mL whipping cream
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blackberries (or a pint of whatever is in season)
3 kiwi fruit, peeled, sliced and quartered
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sugar
Put the raspberries and blackberries into a bowl with the sugar and vanilla and let macerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Crush your meringues roughly into the cream, and fold in gently. Add the kiwi fruit, berries and its juices, but reserve a few for garnish. Fold in fruit and berries gently. Serve immediately in bowls or fancy crystal dessert glasses. Garnish with the reserved kiwi fruit and berries.
If you’re ambitious, you can make your own pavlova and crush that.
Want more easy, elegant looking desserts? Check out this recipe for Individual Black Forest Cake in our magazine.