Eton mess

Jill Dupleix
A fine mess: This classic dessert uses just three main ingredients.
A fine mess: This classic dessert uses just three main ingredients. Photo: Edwina Pickles

This deliciously summery dish apparently began life as a mash of strawberries and thick cream, then somebody added crisp meringues, making it a three-ingredient hit that still resonates today.

Ingredients

1 punnet ripe strawberries

1 punnet raspberries

2 tbsp berry liqueur or Cointreau

2 tbsp icing sugar, plus more to serve

300ml thickened cream

100ml natural yoghurt

6 meringues

Meringue (makes 16)

4 egg whites (about 130g) at room temperature

pinch salt

180g castor sugar

Method

For meringue

1. Heat the oven to 120C. Use an electric hand-held mixer to beat the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, beating until just combined.  Once the sugar has been added, continue beating for two minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy. Using two teaspoons, spoon the mixture on to two trays lined with baking paper. Place in the oven and reduce the heat immediately to 100C, and bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until crisp underneath. Turn off the oven and leave to cool in the oven for three hours. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks. 

For Eton mess

1. Hull the strawberries and cut in half or quarters if large. Toss with one tablespoon of liqueur and one tablespoon of icing sugar and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Whiz half the raspberries to a puree with one tablespoon of icing sugar and remaining liqueur.

3. Whip the cream lightly until just firm, fold in the yoghurt, and chill.

4. To serve, roughly crush the meringue, and layer it in dessert glasses or jars with the cream, strawberries and remaining raspberries. Drizzle with the berry puree, dust with icing sugar and serve.