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Traditional Eton Mess

This traditional English dessert was served at Eton, a boys school in England.

  • Servings: 10

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 1997

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 pounds strawberries (hulled and quartered if large), 10 reserved whole for serving
  • 3 tablespoons kirsch
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. Beat egg whites with electric mixer on low speed to break up, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium high, add salt, and gradually add 1/2 cup sugar. Beat 2 to 4 minutes until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff and glossy, 2 to 4 minutes.

  2. Spoon scant 1/4 cup meringue onto baking sheet; use icing spatula or rubber spatula to spread out to circle roughly three inches in diameter and three quarters of an inch high, making 8 to 10 circles.

  3. Place baking sheets on separate oven racks. Bake 30 minutes; switch upper and lower sheets. Bake another 30 minutes; if meringues are still white, cook 15 minutes more. When beginning to brown, remove. Meringues should be white and dry to the touch. Turn oven off, and leave oven door open about 20 minutes. Put meringues in oven, with door closed, about 1 hour, to dry completely. Meringues may be made 2 to 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container.

  4. While meringues are baking, place strawberries in large bowl; combine with kirsch and 3 tablespoons sugar. Refrigerate until needed, at least one hour, tossing occasionally.

  5. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Break meringues into 3 to 4 pieces. Arrange layer of meringues in bottom of a glass serving bowl. Spoon a layer of strawberries and juices over the meringues. Top with layer of whipped cream. Continue to layer until all ingredients are used, reversing last two layers so cream follows meringues and strawberries are final layer. Arrange whole strawberries around edge.

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