British inspired Spring Celebration and Easy Eton Mess Dessert Recipe
We’re living very nutty, very messy times right now. So I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate my birthday with a “Berry Nutty” Eton Mess dessert. It’s so easy to make! Layers of fresh whipped cream, meringues and strawberries. That’s it! Plus, it keeps my travel dreams alive as I stay at home, sipping a delightful newly released CK Mondavi wine. I hope this post inspires your Spring Celebrations at home. Whether it be your (quarantine) birthday, Mother’s Day or a virtual tea party / happy hour!
This post is published in partnership with CK Mondavi and Family. I’m proud to have been selected as a brand ambassador for the 4th year and promote this family owned and operated American winery. Their easy drinking, well balanced and affordable wines including the newly-released Spritzed Rosé Moscato, are perfect for every day celebrations!Jump to Recipe
What’s on your “Someday I’ll Make That” List?
Since I was a little girl I’ve loved meringues, whipped cream and berries. Surprisingly, I’ve never combined the three to make an Eton Mess. After I sipped the CK Mondavi Spritzed Rosé Moscato, with it’s pretty pink color, and aromas of roses and strawberries, I instantly thought about an Eton Mess. My birthday presented the perfect occasion to finally #MakeSomedayHappen and cross this recipe from my “someday I’ll make that!” list.
Have you tried an Eton Mess? What’s on your list?
What is an “Eton Mess”?
Eton Mess is a traditional English summertime dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream. Considered a national dessert. Believed to have originated at Eton College, the boarding school that Prince William and Harry went to! First served in the 1930’s in the schools “tuck shop.” (As an American, I had to Google this! A tuck shop is a shop on school premises that sells candy, snacks, and soft drinks.)
Originally made with strawberries or bananas mixed with ice cream or cream. Meringues became a delicious addition later on. It can be made with any summer fruit, although strawberries are most traditional. The components are layered and stirred together. Hence the “mess.”
The Pavlova dessert, typically served as a gorgeous torte, also made with the same components, could be considered the beautifully presented older cousin from New Zealand. In this one, the preparation of the meringue is more involved to yield a crisp outer shell with a marshmallowy center. But, I’m looking for easy recipes so we’ll leave that one on the someday list for now.
Travel Inspiration: Great Britain
A road trip around Great Britain is on my “Someday List” too. There’s so much to see! Of course, I love London! The mix of old and new architecture, the sights, the history, the food and all the royal stuff. (Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and I’ve watched all the royal weddings on TV!) And, please don’t judge, but riding a double-decker bus, touring around the city on my last visit, was pure touristy fun.
Now I want to explore where the locals go and drive around the rest of the country. Even if that means driving on the “wrong for us” side of the road. After binge watching Downton Abbey, I can’t wait to tour all the filming locations including Highclere Castle, have a fancy tea party and dine like a royal!
Until we can travel safely again, I will let my taste buds do the traveling. This Berry Nutty Eton Mess does the trick.
Tips For Making an Epic Eton Mess
When I decided to make an Eton Mess, I reached out to a fabulous group of food blogger friends across the pond for tips and advice. They have been a wonderful source of support and friendship via chats on What’s App and Instagram during these trying times.
My biggest concern was making the meringues. I’ve tried it once before many years ago and never quite got the consistency right.
How To Make The Meringues From Scratch for Eton Mess?
Karen Burns of LavenderandLovage.com makes her Eton Mess from scratch and adds a touch of Elderflower liqueur. She prepared this Eton Mess with Strawberry and Elderflower Cream as a guest chef for Viking Cruises. She says: “Meringues are easy to make if you have time. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they hold stiff peaks – you can check this by holding the bowl upside down.”
Fiona Maclean of London-Unattached.com chimed in the chat: “Hold the bowl upside down over your head.” And all I could imagine was an epic kitchen fail in my future…
She adds “Keep the oven temperature low and be patient. You can make the meringues in advance and they will keep in an airtight container for about a week. They don’t need to look pretty because you smash them up anyway!”
Can I Use Store-Bought Meringues in an Eton Mess?
Here’s the best part! Fiona reassured me I didn’t need to make the meringues from scratch. She uses store-bought meringues instead in her recipe. She also makes it with raspberries instead of strawberries due to allergies. Confirming you can make an Eton Mess with any berry or fruit you choose. (I’m thinking I may make a mango one next!)
Kavita Favelle of KaveyEats.com also agreed on the store-bought meringues option. Coincidentally, she had bought meringues and a box of strawberries and had Eton Mess for dessert that day. And she always adds alcohol to hers as well! (This inspired me to add a splash of the Spritzed Rose Moscato to mine and it was perfect!) Check out her Eton Mess “Ice Lollies” (Which sounds so much fancier than “popsicles!”)
So the answer is Yes! It’s ok to use store-bought meringues.
In a flash of pure kismet, after searching various stores around Orlando Florida with no luck, I found these beautifully pastel colored Flower & White meringue drops made in Madeley, Telford, UK. How perfect is that?!
A Gastronomic Eton Mess?
Dining at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, The Fat Duck in Bray Berkshire is also on my bucket list. I was curious how chef / proprietor Heston Blumenthal would prepare his Eton Mess. Being the first restaurant to harness the culinary potential of liquid nitrogen, he attempted to make this classic dish more gastronomic.
“We tried many ways to make it more gastronomic – by layering the elements in a glass; by serving the meringue as a disc with the strawberries and cream on top; even by rehousing all of the elements in different forms, such as strawberry sorbet, meringue tuile and ice cream.“
Ultimately he decided what is so perfect about this utterly British dessert is its simplicity. He left well enough alone, although he does go the extra mile making strawberry juice overnight. And that’s why he’s one of the top chefs in world! Other restaurants around London also serve an epic Eton Mess.
For us at home and for the sake of easy entertaining, we can keep it simple. Use store bought meringues. Use any berry you prefer. Add nuts if you wish. Just serve it in a pretty glass and you’re good to go!
Eton Mess Wine Pairing: CK Mondavi Spritzed Rosé Moscato
What could be prettier than a bright pink fizzy Rosé with the right touch of sweetness? Spritzed Rosé Moscato is not too sweet or cloying like many moscato wines out there. Perfect for Spring celebrations and celebrating every day. Today, more than ever, we need to enjoy each day as it comes and make each day special. Rosé Every Day!
During a virtual wine tasting with Head Winemaker Randy Herron and Riana Mondavi, brand ambassador Director of National Accounts on premise and 4th generation Mondavi wine family, I asked what would pair with this wine. Her answer, without hesitation, “a glass!”
You don’t need any accompaniment to enjoy the Spritzed Rosé Moscato. Chill, pour, sip and enjoy. I added a few slices of fresh strawberries just for fun!
CK Mondavi and Family’s Spritzed Rosé Moscato brings a pop of pink to any celebration. It’s a versatile choice for pairing with appetizers or desserts. Bright light salads, tacos with mango salsa, Thai dishes or simply a bowl of fresh berries would pair nicely.
“We set out to create a delicious wine that’s as enjoyable to serve as it is to drink,” said Randy Herron. “Crafted with the same attention to detail and quality we bring to all our wines, it offers flavors of strawberry and peach, with effervescence on the palate and a creamy yet crisp finish.”
If, like me, you like your Rosé perfectly chilled, just look at the label! Printed with thermochromic – or temperature-sensitive – ink, it transforms from a light cream color at room temperature to a blushing bright pink when the wine is properly chilled, at approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. So cool!
“When it’s pink it’s time to drink!”Judd Wallenbrock, Chief Executive Officer, C. Mondavi & Family.
Where To Find CK Mondavi Wines?
The Spritzed Rosé Moscato is the second in CK Mondavi and Family’s line of limited-edition seasonal offerings. The program, which kicked off in 2019 with a Sunset Sweet Red Blend, appeals to consumers’ sense of discovery. The CK Mondavi and Family collection also includes Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Red Blend. All CK Mondavi and Family wines sell for a suggested retail price of $6.99
This seasonal selection is available now at select retailers nationwide. To find where you can buy the Spritzed Rosé Moscato or any CK Mondavi wine, check out their store locator. If your favorite wine store doesn’t carry it, ask them to order it for you! It’s only available for a limited time. So don’t wait. It will be perfect for Spring and Summer celebrations!
Berry Nutty Eton Mess Recipe
This classic English dessert made of fresh whipped cream, strawberries and store bought meringues gets a nutty twist with the addition of pistachios. It's so delightfully easy and delicious, you can make any day a celebration! Feel free to use your favorite berries and nuts (or no nuts!) It's up to you! I also include instructions if you want to make the meringues from scratch.
- Whipped Cream (see recipe below)
- Berry Sauce (see recipe below)
- 12 oz Fresh Berries (Choose your favorite: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, Blackberries, etc.)
- ½ cup pistachios rough chopped
- 12-14 1½ inch meringues rough chop / crumbled (store bought or make your own with recipe below)
- 1 cup heavy cream (chilled)
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp water (if using frozen berries)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed juice preferred, approx. 1/2 lemon)
- 12 oz. Berries (Choose your favorite, fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries)
- 1 tbsp Rose Moscato (I used CK Mondavi Spritzed Rose Moscato)
- 2 large egg whites
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Place cold heavy cream into a small chilled mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form; set aside. (Be careful not to overmix or you'll end up with butter!)
Add ingredients to a small pan on the stove over medium heat and stir. Mash the berries slightly with a fork and cook until mixture reaches a boil.
Lower the heat and continue to cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from stove and cool.
Note, if you are using frozen berries, you may have to cook a bit longer to remove excess moisture. You want your mixture to be syrupy.
Refrigerate and chill until ready to serve.
If you are making meringues from scratch follow these steps. Or use store bought meringues and skip this step.
Bring egg whites to room temperature. Whisk the egg whites until they become frothy and soft peaks start to form.
Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat.
As the egg whites increase in volume, add the sugar spoonful by spoonful.
The egg white mixture will be ready once it forms stiff peaks.
Preheat oven to 250 F. On a clean nonstick baking sheet, pipe or spoon meringue into the desired size. Make small ones for garnish and others golf ball sized or so. (they are being crumbled so don't worry about being precise)
Bake 50 minutes or until they feel dry and crisp to the touch. Some may develop cracks and that's ok. Turn off the oven and let sit for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Gently fold half of the berry mixture into half of the whipped cream, without mixing too much. Fold in a few crumbled meringues. Mixture should look marbled NOT pink.
Layer in a tall glass by alternating the berry whipped cream mixture, additional crushed meringues, fresh berries, berry sauce, plain whipped cream.
Garnish with pistachios, dollop of whipped cream, strawberry with mint leaves and whole meringues. You can also use edible flowers if you have them.
Serve immediately or chill for up to an hour.
Spring Celebrations at Home
To complete my British inspired Birthday Celebration, I made easy tea sandwiches with thinly sliced English cucumber, radishes and herbed cream cheese and garnished with fresh dill and thyme. (You can make tea sandwiches with just about anything!)
We devoured the Berry Nutty Eton Mess and some added meringues for dessert and sipped Spritzed Rosé Moscato. Downton Abbey and Killing Eve on TV continued the British theme. Low-key and chill celebration!
To cap off a strange but special birthday in quarantine, awesome friends/neighbors stopped by to wish me a happy birthday from a safe distance. During strange times like these, I’m focusing on the special little things. The gift of friendship and the value of being together, but apart, for now.
I hope you’re inspired to celebrate at home and keep your travel dreams alive. #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. If you do make this recipe, please share on social media and tag @goepicurista #GoEpicRecipes. I would love to virtually clink glasses with you.
Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with CK Mondavi and Family Wines. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! To learn more about my guidelines, check out my disclosure policy. Cheers!