Scotland is home to kilts, highlands and haggis, its famous national dish that's a mix of onion, spices and – wait for it – sheep's innards. Not quite your cup o' Scotch? Well, instead, we present one of the country's most famous desserts, chock-full of delicious fruits and sugary tastiness your family is sure to devour.
Not to mention, it's got a name the tykes will definitely dig: Eton Mess.
Now, that moniker may not be entirely inviting. But once you've had it, there will be a warm spot in your heart for this yummy delight. I saw it on a menu when I was in Scotland this summer, tried it and fell in love.
It is a sublime mixture of strawberries, cream and crushed meringue – not the kind that's on lemon pie, but the little swirled delicacy you can find packaged on the cookie shelf.
And it IS a mess! If you follow the traditional recipe, there's no way to make it look pretty. But after the first bite, who cares?
The dish has been around since the 19th century and is traditionally served at Eton College's annual cricket game against Winchester College. Once thought of as a summer dessert – frozen strawberries won't work – the year-round availability of the fruit today makes it work for any season.
There are variations on the dish (some substitute raspberries for the strawberries), and I've had it with blueberries mixed in, as well. It's one of those delicately sweet desserts that isn't too sweet but wonderfully satisfying.
Serving note: This is not a make-ahead dessert. It needs to be assembled right before serving, so the meringue remains crisp.
- Serves 4-6
- 4 cups of hulled strawberries
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 package meringue cookies, coarsely crumbled
- Place strawberries and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
- Coarsely crush berries with a potato masher, leaving them quite chunky.
- Whip cream and confectioners' sugar in large bowl until soft peaks form. Reserve a half cup of the berries.
- Fold berries and cookies into the cream until everything gently covered. Serve in a mound on plates or in dessert bowls. Top each with some of the reserved berries.