Eton mess – the quintessential summer dessert. (Not in Chennai though; strawberries usually make an appearance here in Jan.) Either way, it’s almost the end of season now and I wanted to quickly pop by and show you this easy way to gorge on them whilst they’re still around.
Having said that, I’ve preemptively devised this recipe to use frozen strawberries. Makes sense to go down this route when you’re a berry hoarder. In a traditional Eton mess, half the berries are blitzed with icing sugar to form a syrup. The syrup along with the remaining chopped strawberries form the fruit component of the dish.
I cook the strawberries slightly instead. A few advantages to this: 1) you can use off-season frozen strawberries. 2) Cooking helps bring out their intense berry flavour, and as the strawberries cook, they let out some of their candied juices that marble the whipped cream-yogurt base. Make sure to cook them just enough to break them down. We’re not looking for a jam consistency. We’re essentially making a quick compote here.
Practicality aside, the contrast of the cool cream and yogurt base against the warm strawberry compote is a dream. Purists would insist on using just cream as a base in an Eton mess but I add some yogurt into the mix too. The tang of the yogurt cuts through the sweetness of the meringues. It also in my mind legitimises eating a bowlful for breakfast? I will not be taking questions at this time.
Note: I, for obvious reasons, don’t make my own meringues. I used Thoothukudi macaroons in this recipe. They come plain or dotted with cashews. I prefer the plain ones personally but either works.
LIGHTER ETON MESS
- ⅓ cup cream
- ¼ cup thick yogurt
- 1-2 tablespoons icing or powdered sugar, to taste
- 200 grams strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¾ cup lightly crushed meringues/macaroons
- Note: keep the cream in the fridge/freezer until it’s really cold. Colder cream whips faster.
- Whip the cream with the sugar until you have soft peaks. Using an electric whisk is easier, but a regular whisk would work too. Fold in the yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Hull the strawberries and halve them. Add to a pan and cook covered just until they start to break down. Squish them against the pan to soften them. You still want them holding their shape. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Dollop the cream and yogurt mixture onto a plate. Top with half the crushed meringue/macaroons. Scatter the strawberries with their juices over the top. Finish with the remaining meringue/macaroons and serve.