Nigella’s Eton Mess

I happened to turn on the Cooking Channel the other night and caught the beginning of Nigella Express, one of the few shows on the Food Network that I don’t follow.  I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to this episode (I was working on a quilting project) if I hadn’t heard Nigella say that she was about to prepare Eton Mess, not an appetizing name for the dessert she was touting as the perfect end to a lovely dinner she had prepared for friends.  Eton Mess, named after the British School for Boys and the mashed together state of strawberries, meringues and cream, is the traditional dessert, or pudding, served at Eton College’s annual prize-giving celebration in early summer.
Eton Mess is a simple dessert and as I watched Nigella assemble the ingredients I knew I would love it.  There’s not much to it, just sweetened strawberries, crushed meringues and whipped cream, but the ingredients work perfectly together, and I know this is something I will make often during strawberry season.
Eton Messa recipe by Nigella Lawson
4 cups strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
2 cups whipping cream
1 package individual meringue shells*
Hull and chop the strawberries and put into a bowl.  Add sugar and pomegranate juice and leave to macerate while you whip the cream.  Instead of pomegranate juice I added Cointreau.
Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick.  Roughly crumble 4 meringues – you will need chunks for texture    as well as a little fine dust.
Reserve about a half a cupful of chopped strawberries.  Fold the meringue cream and the rest of the berries together.
Arrange in 4-6 bowls or glasses and top each serving with some of the remaining macerated strawberries and a sprinkle of meringue crumbs.
If you like the crunchy texture of crisp meringues assemble the ingredients just before serving.  The meringue will soften in the whipped cream.
I hope you will try this simple dessert.  It is so pretty served in a wine glass and it is just plain delicious.
*I couldn’t find prepared meringues in my grocery store so prepared my own using Ina Garten’s recipe for Meringues Chantilly.  Her recipe makes 8 meringues.  I used 4 in this recipe and had 4 left for another time.  They keep well in a tightly sealed container.

I’m sending this post over to Designs by Gollum for this week’s
Foodie Friday celebration.


  1. Barbara says

    Oh yeah! You're talking to the choir, Cathy. It's my favorite dessert! And it makes such a lovely presentation as well as tasting out of this world!

  2. bellini valli says

    What's in a name, a rose is a rose is a rose and all that:D It is easy to see why we would all be drawn to this dish.

  3. From the Kitchen says

    Cathy: At first glance, I thought this post was going to be some kind of expose re Nigella and Eton!! However, it sounds delicious. My husband went to an English boarding school (not Eton) and said the desserts (tapioca pudding at least four times a week) were not so tasty. I think I'll make this for him as a little boarding school surprise!


  4. Karen says

    That looks so delicious! And your picture really makes it look extra good.
    I'll try this for sure.
    Ladybug Creek

  5. The Japanese Redneck says

    An interesting dessert. I'll have to snoop around and see if you can make merigues using splenda….

  6. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says

    A classic I haven't yet tried to make myself. What a beautiful photo. Makes me want to grab a spoon and dig in! I love Cointreau or Grand Marnier with strawberries – great idea.

  7. Yvonne @ StoneGable says

    Yummy! That is a delightful combination! And so very easy to make. Just my kind of perfect dessert! And the best part of all is that I don't have to bake (I am a nervous baker!). I call this easy, elegant and fast kind of dessert a WOW Factor dessert.
    This is a real keeper!

  8. Janet says

    Sounds delish…I love to add crumbled meringues to ice cream and hot fudge, just for the texture you know ;)


  9. Kris says

    Hi Cathy. First of all, I didn't realize you quilt. I am a quilter as well. Second…it took a long time for Nigella to grow on me. But I like her show now. Looks yummy!

  10. Pondside says

    This recipe intrigued me when I first came across it a few years ago. It's elegant enough for a company dessert and simple enough (and delicious!) for family meals.

  11. A Feast for the Eyes says

    oooooooooooh. This resembles the Pavlova I made, a couple of weeks ago. Yummy! So glad you posted this, as I'd never heard of it before.
    BTW, I can't seem to bond with Nigella. I don't know why. I should try her out a few more times, and see what happens. Of course, I said that about Ina years ago, and now I really like her show a lot!

  12. theUngourmet says

    I've never heard of that show. I'll have to look for it. This really doesn't look like much of a mess though. It's gorgeous! :D

  13. The Quintessential Magpie says

    That sounds and looks delicious, Cathy! I would use organic strawberries because that is one food I will not eat unless it's organic. Names can be deceiving, can't they? But that is a good "mess." ;-)



  14. Proud Italian Cook says

    Cathy I saw that episode and thought the very same thing, I knew I would love it. Meringues are on my shopping list!

  15. Yvonne @ StoneGable says

    Cathy, I loved what you wrote on my comments! Yes, eating and cooking is a very big challenge when it comes to weight control and my love of cooking! I just lost 20 lbs and have quite a bit more to go. I often make something and only eat a small amount.I am learning not to eat all of it!
    Every day is a new challenge, isn't it?

  16. BonjourRomance says

    Oh this looks delicious Cathy! I read your comment on Yvonne's blog too, and I agree how can control myself with all these fantastic desserts! Your photo of the yummy Eaton Mess is very well done!
    I so enjoy your visits when you come by, thank you!
    Happy Friday to you,

  17. Red Nomad OZ says

    Hi again! I just LOOOOVE Eton Mess, but haven't been able to find a good simple recipe without something tizzy in it – one recipe actually had balsamic vinegar! So … definitely agree to swap the pomegranate juice for Cointreau … My partner doesn't know it yet, but he'll be thanking you too!!

  18. lostpastremembered says

    Having just eaten and then made Eton mess, I love it and the addition of pomegranate juice is fabulous!!! I put port in mine… however you do it, it's a great and fast dessert. Thanks for the new twist!

  19. Gail @ Faithfulness Farm says

    Cathy…I am a HURE Nigella fan. This looks wonderful and is going into my *to-try* file.


  20. Mary says

    What a lovely fast dessert. The addition of pomegranate juice is inspired. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  21. Katherine Aucoin says

    This looks so elegant and simple to make. I usually don't watch Nigella, but like you i would have paid attention to this. I'm going to give this a try.

  22. Linda says

    I had never heard of this dessert until I saw it on a menu in Canterbury and asked what it was. The waitress was nice enough to bring us a sample. My it was good. I must try it for company.

  23. Rettabug says

    Cathy, what a GORGEOUS photograph of a luscious & simple sounding dessert! Positively sparkling in that crystal stemware.

    I'm anxious to see what you've been quilting as I've been busy with the same thing. That & carpet cleaners & new sewing table plus rearranging furniture have kept me away from the computer for weeks. I've missed *talking* to you!

  24. Chef Dennis says

    how could you not love it!! and Nigella has always been one of my favs, I love a woman who enjoys eating…and you can see it in her face….
    but why do they call this a mess?

  25. My Little Space says

    The picture is just so eye-catching! Love the combination. It makes me drool! Hope you're enjoying your day, Cathy!
    Cheers, kristy

  26. My Carolina Kitchen says

    This "mess" sounds fabulous and so easy too. I would have missed it if it hadn't been for you. I don't watch Nigella either for some reason. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>