Eton Mess is traditionally served at the annual match between Eton College and Winchester College, another public school. It has been recorded as a dish since the 19th century.
Marco Pierre White: Appear posh with pudding mix of sweet and tart
There is nothing that gets the English of a certain class quite as excited as the subject of schools. We have a terribly complicated (and class-ridden) system over here. To be posh, you need to have gone to a public school. That is what we call our fee-paying schools, just to confuse everyone. The first question any middle-class English person is likely to ask you is where you went to school. This immediately classifies you as one of them, or, as in my case, not one of them. And there is no posher school than Eton, the legendary boys' school that boasts no fewer than 19 British prime ministers among its alumni.
I wonder if they all ate Eton Mess? If they were cricketers they probably did; Eton Mess is traditionally served at the annual match between Eton College and Winchester College, another public school. It has been recorded as a dish since the 19th century.
The mix of sweet sugars, meringue and cream with the tart fruit is unbeatable. Put a meringue into anything and people think you're a culinary genius. You can't go wrong with fresh strawberries, and they don't really need much doing to them bar washing; the simpler the better, in fact. A great middle-class dish is strawberries and cream, which is traditionally served at the Wimbledon tennis championships. Nothing but a few strawberries, some cream and a hint of sugar - what could be nicer? A friend of mine has a daughter who used to refuse to eat any fruit. She now mixes raspberries, blueberries - whatever happens to be in season - with some cream and sugar. The little girl thinks it's a pudding, not a fruit, and laps it up. And when I say pudding I generally mean what is also known as dessert. Unless, of course, I'm talking about my old favourite, Yorkshire pudding.
I love the simplicity of Eton Mess, so called because of its shambolic appearance, and the fact that it seems more complicated than it really is, rather like our educational system.
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MAKE IT YOURSELF
500ml strawberries 6 packaged meringue nests
(Most food stores will sell pre-made meringues)
6 scoops vanilla ice cream
200ml whipping cream
20g icing sugar
Kirsch liqueur to taste
1. Crush the raspberries and all except for two of the strawberries together to a pulp and season with the icing sugar and the Kirsch.
2. Semi-whip the cream and the icing sugar together.
3. Break up and crush the meringue until it is in small chunks.
4. Cut the remaining whole strawberries into wedges.
5. To serve, place a ball of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of each chilled glass. Cover the ice cream with a small amount of the fruit pulp and then top with the strawberry wedges.
6. Finally, fold the crushed meringue with the rest of the pulp into the cream to form a rippled effect.
7. Spoon this mixture into the glasses.