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Eton Mess (Strawberry Meringue Dessert)
From Dorothy McNett's recipes at www.dorothymcnett.com. A favorite tradition from Eton School in England, served in the mess hall. Or, is it called mess because of how it is assembled? I like the story that maybe it got the name because a dog sat on a picnic basket that had a cake assembled of meringue shells and fresh strawberries with whipped cream and made a mess!.
3 egg whites, room temperature
First make the meringue shells. Preheat oven to 300degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. If using raw sugar instead of the traditional fine white sugar, place the raw sugar in food processor and whirl to make the crystals as fine as possible. Set aside. In batter bowl using an electric beater beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly, to make very stiff peaks. Using a large spoon or spatula, make 6 round shells on the baking sheet. Bake about 35 - 45 minutes until light brown and crispy. Turn off the oven, leave the oven door ajar and allow the meringue to cool completely. In meantime, take 2 cups of the strawberries and lightly mash them a bit with a fork, not to puree them but to allow them to give off some juice. Sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar and set aside. When ready to make the mess, whip the cream in a batter bowl to nice soft peaks but do not over whip. Now break up the meringue shells into rough pieces and add to the whipped cream along with the sugared strawberries. Scoop into a large serving bowl, or into individual sherbet style cups or glasses. Slice the remaining strawberries and place on top of the mess. Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar, if desired. Chill about 30 minutes, or even overnight.
Recipe created 2016-03-01.