Easy summer dessert: Eton mess for Forever Nigella 7 (Iced dreams)

Sometimes, just sometimes, the food blog world stars align and you find you have already made and photographed the perfect dish for a blogging challenge. I felt that way when I read Arthi’s post over at Soul Curry, announcing the latest Forever Nigella challenge: Iced Dreams. This month, the challenge was to make iced/cold/frozen desserts and puddings and just before I left for France I happened to have a LOT of failed cocoa-nib macarons that tasted too good to throw out and that I had already decided to use up in a dessert to take to our friend Alicia’s house for dinner in an Eton Mess. Nigella’s…

Now there were a LOT of Eton Messes in the Forever Nigella Royal Street Party that I hosted and I remember at the time that I thought “I should make an Eton Mess soon” – such an easy dish with so few ingredients that I generally have on hand (yes, I generally have failed macarons on hand!) and when I tasted it, I decided that it would NOT be years before I make my next Mess!

According to Wikipedia, Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, crumbled meringue and whipped cream, and is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket game against the students of Winchester College. The dish has been known by this name since the 19th century and although an Eton mess can be made with many other types of summer fruit, strawberries are regarded as more traditional.  The word mess may refer to the appearance of the dish, or may be used in the sense of “a quantity of food”, particularly “a prepared dish of soft food” or “a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together.

Information Britain suggests that Eton Mess is a “delicious mixture of strawberries, meringue and cream was traditionally served at Eton College at the annual prize giving ceremony on the fourth of June (Confusingly actually held on the last Wednesday in May). An apocryphal story has it that the first “mess” was caused by an excitable Labrador, sitting on a picnic basket on the way to the event. The school’s historical anecdotes say that a mixture, using either strawberries or bananas, was certainly served in the school’s tuck shop, during the 1930’s. The term “mess” may refer to the appearance of the dish. (Some say that “mess” refers to any type of soft food mixed together). Whatever the case, this light, sweet, treat is a prize winning dish at any event.”

Me? I prefer the story of the excitable Labrador… Am actually laughing out loud at that!

Nigella has a recipe but it’s hardly necessary. But for those of you new to the “Mess”, here you go…

Hands down the easiest dessert you will ever make and despite its name, I actually find you can plate it rather elegantly if you choose. Make this. Soon.

Nigella Express (“Good Food Fast”) is a book I highly recommend. She keeps her promise 🙂  You can find it on Amazon or Amazon Canada or for free worldwide shipping check it out on The Book Depository!

As many of you know, I am currently in Paris.  I have a few posts lined up for the next couple of busy weeks (work and a conference) and will eventually get around to blogging about some of the fun culinary adventures I will be experiencing here. In the meantime, though, you can keep up with me through my Summer 2011 Flickr set. I will be updating this with day to day pictures (read: not all food photos!) fairly regularly so if you are so inclined, feel free to check that out!

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50 Responses to Easy summer dessert: Eton mess for Forever Nigella 7 (Iced dreams)

  1. Tonya - What's On My Plate July 6, 2011 at 01:02 #

    Lovely! You know I LOVE an Eton Mess.

    Totally craving it right now…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 10, 2011 at 02:46 #

      🙂 So funny that we both made this around the same time. It’s those delicious Ontario strawberries, I tell you!

  2. Annapet July 6, 2011 at 01:32 #

    This is new to me and I love it! They are NOT failed macarons, Mardi!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 6, 2011 at 01:37 #

      Yes Annapet, there were many batches of those cocoa nib macarons that did not work out. Those, I consider failed!

  3. Jessica July 6, 2011 at 01:43 #

    This looks stunning!!! I’m new to the “mess” and can’t wait to make this soon!

  4. Adriana July 6, 2011 at 05:41 #

    I have to admit I’ve only tried making macarons twice and ended up eating the failed ones mindlessly! I love this sneaky little backup dessert.

  5. Paula July 6, 2011 at 08:09 #

    Great use of your cocoa-nib macarons Mardi! I hadn’t heard of Eton Mess nor the lovely history behind it, so thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed this post and I know I would love your dessert.

  6. Mr. Neil July 6, 2011 at 08:33 #

    Hello, Hooray, an extremist scrape with the Eton Rifles…


  7. tami July 6, 2011 at 08:58 #

    as many times as i’ve seen eton mess on the blogs…and as much of a nigella fan as i am…you’d think i would have had this by now. i’ve never made one and they’re certainly not popular down south here 🙂 thanks for reminding me about eton mess – it’s on my list of things to make. seems like my dream dessert – fruity, fluffy and not chocolatey 🙂

  8. Jamie July 6, 2011 at 09:25 #

    Mmmm Eton Mess. I think the meringue, berries and cream combo is summer heaven! Fabulous recipe, Mardi! And oooh I’ve not been keeping up with Forever Nigella. Thanks for reminding me. Now I need a glass of Eton Mess.

  9. Amanda S. July 6, 2011 at 12:54 #

    oooh. I remember my Mum making this. Thanks for the trip down memory lane and for this delicious way to use our seasonal strawberries!

  10. Kimmy @ Lighter and Local July 6, 2011 at 17:46 #

    Almost all of my favorite things in one dessert. So simple as well. I think it would be super refreshing to make!

  11. Mike@The Culinary Lens July 6, 2011 at 17:49 #

    I had never heard of an Eton Mess and just recently I have seen several references to it. so simple and so delicious.

    I actually worked quite close to Eton for several years so it surprises me.
    I am looking forward to seeing your Paris experiences.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 10, 2011 at 02:43 #

      Well I have to say I have never seen Eton Mess in England. Though I am in London right now and will keep my eye out!

  12. Steph@stephsbitebybite July 6, 2011 at 18:48 #

    I’m not usually a messy person, but when Eton is in front of the word mess, I’m all about it! Looks delish!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 10, 2011 at 02:42 #

      Well I AM messy in my kitchen (not in the rest of my life though…) so this suit me perfectly!

  13. Ann July 6, 2011 at 21:36 #

    Not only did you already blog it, but you took AMAZING pictures! I am SO buzzing this one!

  14. kankana July 7, 2011 at 02:30 #

    absolutely love these type of dessert specially during summer. Pretty looking too!

  15. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen July 7, 2011 at 03:30 #

    That’s a great idea to put the failed macarons in there, a perfect way to put them to good use and a little twist on a classic dessert.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 10, 2011 at 02:42 #

      Yes I like that I didn’t have to add any sugar to the whipped cream because of the sweetness of the macarons.

  16. arthi July 7, 2011 at 04:24 #

    This is absolutely stunning Mardi…Eton mess is one of my favourite and what a gr8 way to use failed macs!!!Beautiful photos!

  17. Liz July 7, 2011 at 07:23 #

    I was just googling cool Nigella treats last night…you picked a winner. And as the mom of a furry Lab, I had to laugh at the possible origin of this lovely dessert~

  18. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 7, 2011 at 09:56 #

    Oh my… This looks fabulous! I’ve been known to throw failed baking experiments into trifles, but I will be saving this recipe for next time. I’m also secretly craving this for breakfast now. Blog reading before breakfast is a very bad idea.

  19. Kate@Diethood July 7, 2011 at 11:47 #

    This looks amazing! I love that you mixed in macarons with the whipped cream. And those strawberries are the perfect fruit addition.

  20. Skylar July 7, 2011 at 11:51 #

    Even the name is enticing! That looks great, especially for the hot hot summer. And I agree with Jen, I think it would be great for breakfast

  21. Marla July 7, 2011 at 18:03 #

    I always love the name of this delicious looking dessert!

  22. kitchenarian July 7, 2011 at 23:24 #

    I just recently saw this in a cookbook and thought it sounded so good. I now here it is again and yours looks so good. I think I need to make this very soon. It’s a great summer dessert.

  23. Anna Johnston July 8, 2011 at 00:01 #

    WANT, ohhhhhhhhhhhhh so want. Looks delish. Wish it were summer, guess Ill have to turn the heating up and try this little beauty. 🙂

  24. Sarah, Maison Cupcake July 8, 2011 at 14:17 #

    That looks super, can you believe I’ve never eaten Eton Mess?! Something I must rectify ASAP. Looking forward to meeting you on Monday!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 10, 2011 at 02:39 #

      Sarah – I can’t believe that YOU have never eaten this! Can’t wait to meet you either!

  25. Stephanie - The Travel Chica July 8, 2011 at 18:17 #

    Even I couldn’t screw this one up 🙂

  26. penny aka jeroxie July 10, 2011 at 03:21 #

    this will be great for me to make as I have tons of eggwhites BUT it aint berry season for us here.

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