Eton Mess is a traditional British summer dessert that has been popular since the 1930’s, when it was invented at Eton College. Founded by Henry VI in the fifteenth century, Eton boasts many famous graduates, including most male members of the British Royal Family and many British Prime Ministers.
There are several theories as to how Eton Mess was invented, including one about an excitable labrador and a picnic basket (my personal favourite!) but one thing everyone agrees on is how delicious it is. The only problem is, it is absolutely loaded with calories and fat. You see, Eton Mess consists of crushed fruit (most often strawberries), crushed meringue, whipped cream and confectioners sugar.
I’ve developed a much healthier version which tastes almost as good as the original and makes a fantastic summer dessert. Meringues are not, in themselves, that high in calories and this is a great way to use up leftover meringue - or even to use up meringue that didn’t quite turn out as you planned! Having said that, I often find myself using store bought meringues for this and they work really well too.
You can make this dessert a little while ahead and refrigerate it, but I don’t recommend leaving it for more than a couple of hours as the whole idea is the meringues retain some of their crispiness. This recipe will serve about 4 people, depending on how big your serving dishes are. You can serve this at the table from a large serving bowl, but I prefer to serve it in individual serving dishes. It’s a great opportunity to use those pretty crystal glasses you may have tucked at the back of the cupboard!
1½ cups sliced strawberries
2 cups strawberry or vanilla yogurt
½ cup crushed meringues + about 2 tablespoons extra for decorating
Mix everything except the extra 2 tablespoons of meringue together lightly in a large mixing bowl. Spoon into serving dishes. Sprinkle a little reserved meringue on top of each dish for decoration.
Enjoy without guilt, preferably in the sunshine!