Raspberry Eton Mess




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Raspberry Eaton Mess in a glass with spoon

You don’t have to be a prep school alum to appreciate a Raspberry Eton Mess ~ it’s a traditional British dessert made with meringues, berries, and lots of whipped cream. It’s casual enough for everyday, but would be a wonderful Easter or Passover dessert.  My version comes with an easy homemade raspberry vanilla bean sauce ~ now that’s a fine mess!

Making a Raspberry Eton Mess with homemade meringues

When a dessert starts at an elite British boarding school and then becomes the stuff of dreams for generations to come, you know it has to be good.  

If you live in the US I’m going to bet you’ve never had a Raspberry Eton Mess, which is a shame, because this comforting gluten free dessert is easy to make, and drop dead delicious.  With the ruby red raspberries it just screams spring, so now is the perfect time for you to learn how to make it.  If you’ve made my Raspberry Pavlova, you’re ahead of the game.

Making a Raspberry Eton Mess with fresh raspberry sauce

History of the Eton Mess ~

The Eton mess takes its name from Eton College, an elite boarding school in England (Prince Charles and Prince Harry went there) but after that, the facts about this yummy dessert gets a little muddled.  Let’s sort the fact from the alternative facts: one popular story involves a school picnic in the 1930s, an excited Labrador retriever, and a crushed pavlova dessert.  Clever…but false.  The dessert has been around since before the turn of the century.  Etonians would have known it as ‘strawberry mess’ or ‘raspberry mess’.  There was even a ‘banana mess’ from a competing school!  The vintage term ‘mess’ in this case means a mixture of ingredients.

Raspberry Eton Mess in a vintage dessert glass

The simple ingredients for an Eton Mess:

Meringues (sweetened whipped egg whites, slow baked until crisp on the outside, chewy inside)

soft whipped cream

berries and berry sauce

Piped meringues for a raspberry Eton Mess

Piped meringues on a parchment lined baking sheet for Raspberry Eton Mess

This Raspberry Eton Mess is exactly the sort of free wheeling, don’t take it too seriously dessert I love here at tvfgi.  

It’s great fun to make the little meringues for this dessert.  The thing to remember is that you can bake them off in any shape you like.  I felt like piping, but you can just spoon the meringue onto your baking sheet in irregular globs if you prefer.  I’ve made meringue cookies like that, you can see them in my Easy Cocoa Meringues post where I just use a spoon to dollop the whipped egg whites onto the baking sheet.

My piped method made 4 dozen small kisses, which is enough for eight large desserts (if you allow 6 meringues per dessert.)  I couldn’t bear to break mine up since they were so pretty, so I left them whole.

Assembling Raspberry Eton Mess desserts

Traditional Eton Mess is made by breaking meringues and then mixing them with soft whipped cream and the berries.  I just couldn’t bear to break apart my pretty shaped meringues, so I left it to the individual diner and their fork to do the job.  They’re more or less bite sized, anyway.  But if you prefer the texture of the meringue after it has soaked up some of the sweet cream, then by all means crush yours.  

I started with a couple of meringues, then a layer of whipped cream with whole raspberries folded in, then a drizzle of the vibrant raspberry sauce, followed by a few raspberries, more meringues, and so on until the glass is full.

A Raspberry Eton Mess in a vintage dessert glass

Make it ahead ~

You can absolutely make this Eton Mess in advance, the time in the fridge will give the meringue a chance to soften, absorb the flavors, and become even more delicious.  You can also serve it right away, it’s your choice.

Other fruits to serve with Eton Mess

 ~ Strawberries are tradition.  

~ Bananas (how comforting can this thing get?)

~ Other berries like blackberries, blueberries, currants, etc. 

~ Rhubarb (with plenty of vanilla sugar) would make an amazing mess.

~ I think it would be equally amazing with ripe summer plums, pleaches, or apricots, I’m sure I’ll do that this summer.  There would be no need to make an extra sauce with those super juicy fruits.

tvfgi recommends: An extra large piping tip  

The Ateco 829 Pastry Tube star tip is extra large and perfect for meringues, mashed potatoes, cupcakes, and other times when you want to pipe relatively large amounts.  It was actually fun to pipe my meringues with this tip, I could have done it all day!  Each one comes out perfectly shaped so it’s really satisfying.

 

More spring raspberry desserts ~

Raspberry Eton Mess
Rate this recipe
8 ratings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Category: dessert

Cuisine: British

Yield: serves 8

Raspberry Eton Mess with raspberry sauce

Raspberry Eton Mess ~ a gluten free British dessert recipe made with meringues, berries, and lots of whipped cream.

Ingredients

    meringues
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, sifted
    raspberry sauce
  • 12 ounces of fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
    whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) whole raspberries, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250F (an oven thermometer is a great tool to have in case your oven is not calibrated correctly) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Get a pastry bag ready, fitted with an extra large piping tip. I used the Alteco 829 star tip.
  3. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until foamy. With the mixer going, add the salt and then slowly add the sugar. Let the mixer go on high until the whites are stiff and glossy, this will take a few minutes. The meringue should hold stiff peaks when you lift the beater out of the bowl.
  4. Fold in the lemon juice and cornstarch. Then fill your pastry bag with the meringue.
  5. Pipe small dollops of meringue on the lined baking sheet. They can be spaced close together because they won't spread in the oven. This recipe makes approximately 48 meringues with a base of about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  6. Bake the meringues for 60 minutes, and don't disturb while baking. Then turn the oven off and crack the oven door open, and leave them in the oven for another hour.
  7. While the meringues are baking, make the raspberry sauce. Rinse the berries and put them directly into a saucepan while they are still dripping wet. Add the sugar and vanilla and bring up to a simmer, stirring almost constantly to dissolve the sugar. Gently boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the berries have softened and released their juices.
  8. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then puree briefly in a food processor until smooth. No need to strain.
  9. Whip the heavy cream until it starts to thicken, then add the sugar and extract. Beat until soft peaks form, but be careful not to over beat or it will seize up. You want a nice soft texture. I like to beat on a medium speed so I can control the progress. Gently fold 1 cup of the whole berries into the cream, reserving the rest for serving.
  10. To serve the Eton Mess, gather 8 serving glasses or dishes. I like to use glass so you can see the pretty layers. You'll use 6 meringues for each serving. Start with 2 or 3 meringues for the first layer, then top with some cream, a couple of berries, and a drizzle of sauce. Repeat the layer once or twice more, and finish with berries.
  11. Note: you can break apart the meringues as you add them to your bowls, which will allow the cream and sauce to penetrate more easily. I like to keep them whole, but you can do it either way.

 

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 19, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you for posting a fab recipe that actually works ,!

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    April 16, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Great looking dish! I know about this, but never made it. Now that I have your recipe, I can. :-) Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tricia
    April 16, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Yes indeed this would be very popular in our house! Great adaptation Sue – love it!

  • Reply
    Mino
    April 16, 2019 at 10:38 am

    My husband needs to be gluten free, so I make a version of this but I add Greek yogurt mixed with some lemon curd in it and also toasted almond slivers on top.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Mmmmmm, sounds great, I have a lemon curd pavlova coming up soon :)

  • Reply
    Heidy L. McCallum
    April 16, 2019 at 9:04 am

    This Eton Mess looks wonderful, my friend Christiana makes them, a little differently, but I love both of your recipes and cannot wait to try your version. I have actually never had the pleasure of eating them as I always seem to arrive too late to the party lol. Saving this for later. Maybe I will surprise her and make them for her.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2019 at 9:10 am

      There are a few different ways to go about these, and I think all of them are good, just different. If I had made ‘blobby’ meringues, I definitely would have crushed them up before adding to my layers.

  • Reply
    Neli Howard | Delicious Meets Healthy
    April 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

    I love Eton Mess <3 I've never tried it with raspberries though, I will definitely make this at home soon. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2019 at 8:55 am

      I know strawberries are tradition, but I think the raspberries make it extra special, their flavor is better, imo!

  • Reply
    Suzy
    April 16, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Such an elegant dessert! Totally making for Mother’s Day!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2019 at 8:55 am

      All our mom’s deserve one!

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    April 16, 2019 at 8:39 am

    I’m intrigued by this recipe. I’ve had all of these items separately but never together.

  • Reply
    Kristina
    April 16, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Oh my lanta! What a gorgeous looking dessert, and oh so sweet! Perfect treat for this time of year!

  • Reply
    2pots2cook
    April 16, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Beautiful mess I say :-) :-)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2019 at 8:25 am

      lol!

  • Reply
    ChrisofDan
    April 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

    One of the best desserts ever invented by mankind! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2019 at 8:04 am

      Haha, I have to agree, the flavors and textures…oh my!

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