Why, you may ask, is a former secondary modern school kid waxing lyrically about such an upper class treat? Well, the answer is simple: It is delicious. And with the Prodigal addition of chocolate this wonderful confection becomes extra special. Plus, it's so easy to throw together!
Here's what you need for 6-8 servings.
A pound and a half or more of strawberries, nice and ripe, two cups of whipping cream, a tablespoon of sugar, and a drop of vanilla.
Twelve small meringues, or more if you like lots of crunch. If you have the patience, you can, of course, make them yourself, but I prefer to buy them.
One third cup of Kirsch, white rum, or flavorful spirit (optional)
Two ounces of good quality, semi-sweet chocolate, grated or shaved.
Here's what you do.
Put the cleansed and hulled berries in a bowl, halved or sliced or quartered depending on size of the fruits. Now add the booze if you so desire. As we have a child and I don't want the police on my doorstep I don't, and it works very well without. At this point, resist the desire to add sugar to the bowl. If you do, the strawberries will weep and turn your dessert a gooey pink, and you don't want that. Instead, add a tablespoon of sugar to the cream and beat it to soft peaks. Add a little vanilla if you so desire, especially if you abstain on the Kirsch.
Crush/chop the meringues into rough chunks then add to the strawberries and whipped cream, then "mess" everything gently together. And there you have it: Eton Mess. More of an assembly job than a real recipe.
Serve in tall sundae glasses and top each portion with generous sprinkles of chocolate shavings. The addition of the chocolate is mine but it really works a treat.
Even if you're not strolling the playing fields of Eton with the sun glazing the Thames a shimmering gold, it will certainly feel like it when you taste this wonderful concoction. Evocative of summer and lazy afternoons, Eton Mess is destined to become a family favourite.