Strawberries, meringue, and whipped cream—is there any better combination?

By Southern Living
June 16, 2020
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The warm days of summer have us dreaming of cool desserts. (Bonus points if those desserts are crowd-pleasing and easy to whip up too!) Beyond Southern-favorite pies and cobblers, there’s another traditional dessert we’ve been eyeing, and it’s just the ticket to satisfy a sweet tooth. It’s an Eton Mess, a dessert that comes to us from England, where it was popularized at Eton College. The institution served the dessert to celebrate an annual cricket game and also gave the dish its name.

There are three traditional components of an Eton Mess, and those are meringue, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. An Eton Mess makes the most of fresh fruits and juicy berries, which are at their peak in summertime. The dessert is usually served with fresh strawberries, which is delicious, but it can incorporate any favorite seasonal fruits, even slices of citrus. To serve an Eton Mess, the fruit is chopped, the meringue is broken into pieces, and the whipped cream is dolloped in between as the ingredients are layered in a glass and garnished with additional fruit or aromatic herbs, like mint. Think of it like a simple parfait, or like strawberries and cream, but with a sweet crunch and satisfying chew from the broken meringue.

If you’d like to try it out for yourself this season—or any season, just incorporate whatever fruits are at their peak—check out our version, Lemon Eton Mess, which incorporates a tangy lemon curd and cuts prep time in half by using store-bought meringue cookies. There’s also a great recipe from the BBC, which is a traditional preparation that calls for strawberries and making your own meringue. Martha Stewart also has a traditional recipe. Cooking Light has a recipe for a Stone Fruit Meringue, which uses in-season plums and nectarines. If you have some time on your hands and would really like the final result to impress, look no further than this Food & Wine Eton Mess recipe, the components of which include a cardamom cream, pink peppercorn meringue, and rhubarb compote. Delish!

WATCH: Secrets to Our Best-Ever Strawberry-Lemon Layer Cake

Have you ever made an Eton Mess? Would you make it this summer as a warm-weather treat?