Diva Tasting: A dessert with history…Eton Mess…

Eton Mess Dessert (Variation )

I heard of this on a detective show I was watching and had to look it up; and, of course, share.

Let’s head to Berkshire, west of London, across from the beautiful city of Windsor and more precisely at the famous Eton College, to discover this delicious dessert! Our variation is equally delicious. I do not like meringue or pavlova, so I am forcing my palate on you. You can use the meringue instead of graham crumbs instead.

HOW TO MAKE ETON MESS

This is a dessert made of simple ingredients and that is very easy to prepare.

The 3 main ingredients are:
– whipped cream
– strawberries (or banana)

_Graham Cracker Crumbs

Let’s head to Berkshire, west of London, across from the beautiful city of Windsor and more precisely at the famous Eton College, to discover this delicious dessert!

So we are talking about some strawberries and bananas cut into small pieces, some strawberries reduced to a coulis, and whipped cream. You mix everything to obtain the most perfect mess!

It is therefore a dessert that lends itself perfectly to a last minute preparation. The ingredients can also be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator while waiting to be combined and placed in layers in dessert parfait glasses. I fold the strawberries and bananas into the whip cream and place in the parfait glasses with graham cracker crumbs between the layers. Top with whip cream and serve.

But what do strawberries, whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs (or meringue if you use) have to do with Eton College?

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF ETON MESS?

Let’s start with the prestigious Eton College or, more completely, King’s College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor, the creme de la creme of British public schools.

This highly elitist college was founded by King Henry VI in 1440 in the city of Windsor, famous for its royal castle. Throughout its history, Eton has been one of the leading independent schools in the UK and continues to provide an education that is associated with academic excellence.

Traditionally, male members of the Royal Family of England are sent to Eton. Princes William and Harry have actually studied there.

At Eton College, we obviously play cricket, the very British team sport. Eton cricket is very famous for the annual match between Eton College and Harrow School, another excellent school in North East London.

This match takes place at the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground, or simply Lord’s, a cricket stadium located in the St. John’s Wood district of London and owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club.

In fact, the Eton mess is traditionally served at the annual cricket match held on June 4th between Eton College and Harrow School.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME “ETON MESS”?

There are several legends for the origin of the name of the Eton mess recipe.

Some authors say that this dessert was born in the 1920s during the annual Eton College picnic: a Labrador would have jumped on the picnic basket of an upper-class family from London during a cricket match. The Labrador would have, therefore, crushed the meringue, strawberries and cream. With the famous British phlegm that we are all familiar with, the owners of this dessert remained stoic and dignified and said: “It’s absolutely delicious! These strawberries are delicious! Wonderful!”

Another legend claims that in the early 1920s an English family was on their way to visit their son, a student at Eton College. Among the provisions that they brought to the pension student, there was a pavlova which did not hold up well during the trip, and collapsed to become a chaotic mixture of meringue, whipped cream and red fruit. Pavlova is this famous emblematic dessert from New Zealand named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, and composed of meringue that is garnished with fresh fruits, the same ingredients as the Eton mess.

It was only during the 1930 annual cricket match that the Eton mess became the iconic dessert of the event, served at the end of the traditional lunch preceding the match.

Soft, crispy or both at once, the meringue brings an airy touch to this tasty dessert if you use it.

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