Eton Mess – Raspberries, cream and a personal challenge

“Eton WHAT?!?!” – This was more or less my reaction when reading through the program for the Plate2Page workshop in Somerset six months ago (I can’t believe half a year has passed since then…time has  been flying!). Eton Mess – Eton like the college and mess like – well – mess. This did not sound like food. I double checked, I was actually reading the dinner menu. This must be a British desert I thought and did a Google picture search – it was food indeed and what a mess at the same time ;-).

I am not sure what surprised me more, the name of the desert or that there was actually the menu of more or less all meals listed as part of the workshop program in the midst of writing and photography lectures, exercises and assignments. On the other hand I was going to a food photography and writing workshop so food would play THE main role … take 4 amazing instructors, 11  motivated workshop participants from quite a number of countries plus a hyperactive resident dog. Stir, shake, season and you get a fun filled learning weekend with steaming heads from all the writing exercises as well as burning fingers from clicking the shutter once too often.

To get an idea what this means have a look at posts by Francoise on our assignments writing for a tabloid  (what is Mr. Cranky up to?) and reviewing a smoke house, a story by Barbara that came out of a writing exercise as well as the reviews by other  workshop participants (Barbara, Juliane, Ruth, Spandana and Wendy) and instructors (Ilva, Jamie, Jeanne and Meeta).

Meringues, at last!

.. and I can tell you, that Eton Mess in Somerset was delicious and easy to make: prepare some whipped cream, break up some meringues, add fresh berries, mix together and there you have your personal Eton Mess. So then, why did it take me so long to come up with this post – among other reasons I had my personal war with meringues. Whipping up some egg whites, adding sugar, piping it to a baking sheet and drying it in the oven should not be too hard I thought. But, oh well, it was hard – for me at least. The meringues stayed gooey and sticky. Different recipes stated different temperatures and different baking times but nothing seemed to work for me. After my third attempt this summer I surrendered, attributed my failure to the heat (although it was NOT humid) and prepared Eton Mess with store bought meringues. But this kitchen failure did not keep me at rest. I NEEDED to conquer meringues. And I did in my next try this fall – I succeeded repeatedly. What did I do differently, perhaps it was that I beat the egg whites and sugar very very stiff, stiffer than in summer, perhaps it was something else (the cooler weather?). I will see next summer if I really have conquered meringues. Until then, enjoy Eton Mess with home-made meringues.

Meringue

MERINGUES

Ingredients
4 egg white (63 g eggs)
220g fine sugar
pulp of one vanilla pod or some vanilla extract

Instructions
1) Heat oven to 90 ºC. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Stir vanilla into sugar.
3) Whisk egg whites with a handheld mixer until stiff. Slowly add the sugar, spoonful by spoonful. Continue mixing until the mass is shiny and the peaks are stiff.
4) Fill meringue mass into a piping bag and pipe little nests onto the baking sheet. Alternatively use a table spoon to form little meringue heaps.
5) Let dry in the middle of the oven at 90 ºC for approximately 90 minutes, or until the top is dry. Shut off oven. Keep the meringues in the oven (with door closed) and let cool for a few hours (best over night).
6) Use immediately or store in an airtight container.


Raspberry Eton Mess

ETON MESS

Ingredients
250 g raspberries
300 g (whipped) cream
approx. 3 meringue nests (depending on the size more or less)

Instructions
1) Wash and dry raspberries.
2) Whip cream.
3) Crumble meringue nests.
4) Mix all ingredients and serve immediately.

Baiser

BAISER

Zutaten
4 Eiweiss (63 g Eier)
220 g feiner Zucker
Mark einer Vanilleschote oder Vanilleextrakt

Zubereitung
1) Backrohr auf 90 ºC vorheizen (Ober-/Unterhitze). Backblech mit Backpapier auslegen.
2) Zucker mit Vanillemark vermengen.
3) Eiweiss mit Handmixer steif schlagen. Langsam den Zucker einrieseln lassen, am besten löffelweise. Solange mit dem Mixer weiter schlagen bis die Masse glänzt und auch die Spitzen steif sind.
4) Die Masse in einen Spritzbeutel geben und kleine Nester auf das Backblech spritzen. Alternativ mit einem Esslöffel Häufchen formen.
5) In der Mitte des vorgeheizten Backofen bei 90 ºC ca. 90 Minuten trocknen oder bis die Oberseite trocken ist. Danach im ausgeschalteten Backofen (bei geschlossener Tür) mehrere Stunden (am besten über Nacht) auskühlen lassen.
6) Falls die Baiser nicht gleich gegessen werden, luftdicht lagern.


Himbeer Eton Mess

ETON MESS

Zutaten
250 g Himbeeren
300 g Schlagobers
etwa 3 Baiser-Nester (je nach Größe mehr oder weniger)

Zubereitung
1) Himbeeren waschen und trocken tupfen.
2) Schlagobers schlagen.
3) Baiser-Nester zerkrümeln.
4) Alles vermengen und sofort servieren.

 

older: Tomato-Rocket-Pizza and Homemade Pizza Sauce
newer: Long strolls and pumpkin soup

20 Comments
  1. What a lovely reminder of a great weekend and a gorgeous dessert!!! cheers :-)

  2. Hi, Alexandra, wow – this looks delightful, compliments on your lovely photography.

    Meringues – a nightmare! Mine turned out flat but deliciously gooey (how I adore it!). I blamed it on hormones but you encourage me to have a go at it again.

    Six months have gone by – you must be joking, time is really playing tricks on us. Hey,thank you so much for the mention as well.

    • Thank you Barbara. Yes, definitely you have to give it a try again :-) … perhaps the end of fall is a good time (it was for me at least) ;-)

  3. What fantastic times we had that weekend Alex! Great to go through the memories again. And yes we love getting your appetites going with our menu for the meals – as we pay attention to what we select and cook together. So glad to see this!

  4. Mmh, meringues are my favorite dessert! Looks really delicious, I should try it out myself. Where can I get ‘Baiser-Nester’?

    • Sebi, you should try making them yourself;-). But if you are not in for the kick (if they work out), Coop (and probably also Migros) sells different kinds … let me know how Eton Mess worked out (perhaps we are treated to them next time? hint, hint)

  5. Hahaha – I never knew we were going to cause consternation among our non-English participants with the Eton mess – but yes, I guess it does sound a bit weird. Good thing we didn’t go for spotted dick instead LOL! Can’t believe it was already 6 months ago as it feels like yesterday that we were waking up the morning mist and the sound of the cows before launching into a day of photography and writing. What a pleasure to have met you and thank you for your entry!

  6. I love reading how our participants viewed the workshop, how they felt before, during and after. And now it is all mixed up together in a creamy, luxurious, sweet Eton Mess.

  7. Oh, I Know this, my family here in Germany loves to eat it, it’s quite a crowd pleaser. Here we call it ‘Schneegestöber’, and we make it with frozen raspberries, that way the cream slightly freezes and it makes everything taste even better :) To quicken it up we usually buy meringues, or baiser.

    • And we use more of the meringues, but maybe just cause we like it sweeter ;)

    • I was not aware that there was also a German version “Schneegestoeber”. I have never seen it in Austria or Switzerland. Your iced version sounds delicious though.

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