This traditional Eton mess recipe by Geoffrey Smeddle is a sumptuous, indulgent, sticky mess of crunchy meringue, tart strawberries and rich cream. This Summer dessert is a British classic, and Geoffrey's recipe, which was created for the Sunday Herald, is simple to prepare at home.
Geoffrey Smeddle, proprietor and chef of The Peat Inn in Fife, started his career working for Herbert Berger at The Café Royal and for Christopher Galvin in London. He then sealed his reputation as one of Scotland’s top chefs by opening Terence Conran's Etain, in Glasgow.
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Begin the Eton mess by preheating the oven to 110°C and line 2 trays with parchment paper. Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and begin to whip with a light wire whisk - do not use a heavy, thick whisk as this will knock out air faster than you can whip it in
3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
As you whisk, gradually let the sugar drift into the whites little by little so that, by the end of whisking, you have stiff whites which have all the sugar added by the time you are nearing the end of whisking
175g of caster sugar
Next, use a spatula to spread the whipped whites over the trays. For an Eton mess, the meringue will be crushed up later, so the shape is not too important
Once fully spread, transfer to the oven to dry out and crisp. This can take several hours, but check it after the first hour then every half hour or so thereafter depending on your oven
You can remove the meringue when it sounds hollow and brittle when you tap it
Place the cream in a mixer with a whisk attachment then whip gently, taking care not to over-whip
500ml of double cream
If you wish you can add vanilla seeds and icing sugar into the mixer
1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp of icing sugar
Add half the strawberries to the cream and stir in. Break up the meringue into rough one-inch-sized bits, and add most (but not all) of the meringue to the cream
250g of strawberries
Layer up the cream in glasses (tumblers or Martini glasses will work), alternating layers of the cream with some of the leftover strawberries and meringue
250g of strawberries
Finish the Eton mess with some of the strawberries and a crunchy topping of meringue then serve at once
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