I made a strawberry eton mess once, and it deliciously lived up to it’s name. Easy, sweet, light, creamy, crispy and, of course, messy. My mom has taken it further with the addition of rhubarb, and roasting, and she’s here to share it with us today! My rhubarb plant survived the move but I won’t be reaping a harvest from it until next year, so I’m living vicariously through my mom’s thriving plant this year. If you like rhubarb, meringue, and whipping cream, you’re gonna love this. Thanks to my sister, who enjoyed this dessert in person, for snapping this picture of Mom getting sucked into food photography…just look at that focus ;) Thanks for being here again Mom!
From Mom: So you’ve made my recipe for Meringue Nests with Lemon Cream and Mixed Berries, and I‘m sure it was absolutely delicious. But, oh dear, you only needed 6 of the nests and you were wondering what you could possibly do with the leftover nests. Well, I have the answer. Make a mess! A mess everyone will gladly help clean up.
Eton Mess is a layered dessert, starting with crumbled meringue, followed by whipped cream, and finished with roasted fruit. Roasting brings out the sweetness of even one of the tartest treats, rhubarb. Rhubarb desserts are usually loaded with a whack of sugar to keep everyone from puckering up. With roasting, the fruit needs only a drizzle of maple syrup. Throw in a handful of local, fresh strawberries to roast with the rhubarb and summer perfection is reached.
Are there more ways to reach perfection? Absolutely! Try roasted peaches, or, even better, a mixture of roasted peaches and plums. Oh man, forget waiting for leftover meringue. Make a fresh batch and create a whole bunch of messes.
Choose any serving dishes you like, but try to find ones that are clear glass, so you can enjoy the appearance as much as the taste. Jams jars are great for casual affairs. Martini glasses add a touch of fancy. Just make sure you wait to assemble the parts until you are ready for dessert. Assembly ahead of time causes the juices to ‘melt’ the meringue. The taste is still good, but the crunch is gone. In fact, your guests won’t even know there had been meringue there. So have all the parts ready to go, put the kettle on for tea, and you will have the mess made before your favourite brew is ready for sipping.
- 3 large egg whites
- Pinch cream of tartar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ROASTED FRUIT:
- 4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut in 1” pieces
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
- 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- WHIPPED CREAM:
- 1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Then beat in sugar, 2 Tbsp at a time, until it holds stiff, glossy peaks when you raise your beaters.
- Using a soup spoon, drop meringue in 12 mounds on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.
- Bake meringue for 2 hours. Turn off oven and let stand in oven for another 1 hour - do not open oven door! Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool. These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days, or frozen pretty much indefinitely.
- ROASTED FRUIT:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a 13”X9” roasting pan or glass baking dish.
- Spread rhubarb and strawberries in the pan and drizzle with the 3 Tbsp of maple syrup. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Fruit can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, cooled, and refrigerated until needed.
- WHIPPED CREAM: Whip cream to soft peaks. Add 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and vanilla. Continue whipping until cream forms slightly firm peaks.
- ASSEMBLY: Crush meringues into medium pieces. Divide among bowls, so bowls are about ⅓ full. Top with whipped cream. Divide roasted fruit and accompanying juices among the bowls. Serve immediately.
Meringues adapted from Canadian Living. Roasted fruit adapted from Aimee Wimbush-Bourque’s Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.