Eton Mess

Trader Joe's Vanilla Meringues.

Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues.

I’m lame and we’re in the middle of packing up our house, so forgive me for the only photo I have to go with this post, which is an empty box of meringues. Oh well.

Nevertheless, even without good photos, I couldn’t resist sharing this incredible recipe, which will definitely be on my dessert rotation. That is saying a lot, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not so much of a dessert person.

We were having friends over last night, one of whom is gluten-free and so I was searching around for a recipe for something gluten-free. I hate baking, and I’m not a fan of heavy desserts, so for whatever reason I was thinking I could do something with store-bought meringues, which are gluten-free (at least Trader Joe’s brand is…). I came across this recipe for Crushed Raspberry Creams at BBC’s Good Food blog, which basically mixes crushed meringues in with Greek yogurt and creme fraiche and layers that with raspberries. I recognized it as kind of modified Eton Mess–a British dessert that has the same ingredients with whipped cream instead of yogurt/creme fraiche. Traditional Eton Mess uses strawberries, but the following recipe would taste great with any kind of summer berry. However, I really do think the tartness of raspberries or blackberries are best here.

The recipe can be slightly less guilt-inducing when made with yogurt, depending on what kind you use and how much creme fraiche you add. I think next time I make it, I might omit the creme fraiche to see what I can do with a lighter version since heavy cream and creme fraiche/sour cream don’t sit so well with my stomach. That said, the version below was delicious and oh so easy.

Eton Mess-

adapted from Crushed Raspberry Creams, BBC Good Food Blog

  • 1 box Trader Joe’s Vanilla Meringues (210 g or 7.39 oz.) or 3 or 4 large meringue shells
  • pint of raspberries 
  • pint of blackberries
  • organic sugar to taste
  • 16 oz. 0% fat or lowfat Greek yogurt (full fat would work great too)
  • 4 oz. of creme fraiche (optional–if you don’t use, increase yogurt amount to 20 oz. and don’t use 0% fat yogurt)

Blend together the yogurt and creme fraiche. If you wanted to, you could add in some lemon zest or a pinch of a spice, like cardamom–I can see all kinds of ways to experiment here. Chill this mixture in the fridge.

Combine the berries in a bowl, but save 4-10 raspberries and/or blackberries for garnish. Sprinkle remaining berries with a tablespoon or so of sugar, and macerate them lightly to release some of their juices, keeping the berries more or less whole. I didn’t add any herbs, but mint or basil could be delicious added in here. Let sit at room temperature.

In the meantime, chop up the meringues into pieces with a knife. I tried to do this in the food processor, but I found that the meringues were turning to powder, and so I finished the job by hand.

Just before serving, pull the yogurt mixture out of the fridge, and fold the meringues into the yogurt mixture. I didn’t add any additional sugar, but you can taste the mixture and add some if you’d like. In 4 or 5 small teacups, or clear glasses (which will allow you to see the pretty layers), layer some yogurt mixture, then berries, and then end with more yogurt. Garnish each cup with a berry or two and serve.

The recipe said that these can keep for four hours assembled in a fridge, but I wouldn’t add the meringues to the yogurt until last minute, so you can keep some of their crunchy texture in the mix. Enjoy!

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