I just got a new cookbook of classic British desserts, British Baking by Peyton & Byrne, and am so-o-o-o excited!  The French may have their pastries and Americans their cupcakes, but the British have some killer traditions of their own.  Bakewell tarts, jammie dodgers, banoffi pie, sticky toffee pudding … they’re  mouthwateringly good without being pretentious.  You can have your millefeuille and macaroons – I’ll take a millionaire’s shortbread any day of the week!

So, I’ve decided to go through my new cookbook and do a series on classic British desserts.  And, since it’s summer, what better way to start than with Eton Mess!!  This is kind of a non-recipe recipe that’s easy to scale for however many people you’re serving.  Meringues are easy to make, but the store-bought ones are just as good.

Eton Mess

  • 1 lb strawberries for every 2 people
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • squeeze of 1/4 lemon
  • whipping cream (about 1 cup per person)
  • 1 meringue nest per person

A couple of hours before serving, set aside about 1/3 of the strawberries.  Hull and quarter them then sprinkle with sugar and the squeeze of lemon to let macerate.  Just before serving, mash them with a fork or give them a whizz in a blender or food processor.  Meanwhile, hull and quarter the remaining strawberries and whip the cream in a large bowl until thick and luscious.  Crumble the meringues into the whipped cream and fold together with the quartered strawberries.  To serve, put a couple of dollops of the strawberry and cream mixture in a serving bowl, drizzle with the strawberry puree, then add another couple of dollops of the strawberry and cream and finish with a final drizzle of puree.

This is the perfect dessert for a lazy summer dinner – simple but incredibly delicious.