An interesting name for a delicious pud. Allegedly, the name came about after an accident long ago with a berry and cream-filled Pavlova (meringue), at a Etonian picnic. For those of you unfamiliar with Eton, its where upper-crusties send their brighter children to be educated in the hopes that they’ll end up going down (yes, really) to Oxford or Cambridge.
I don’t think it could have sounded quite as romantic if the happy accident had occurred at one of the other British public schools (i.e. fee paying) such as Stowe or Rugby. ‘Stowe Mess’ sounds oddly inedible; ‘Rugby Mess’ seems rather brutal.
Anyway, the smashed dessert was scooped up into dishes and tasted so good that it was given its own identity. So here it is……
Note: you can make your own meringues from scratch but it doesn’t seem necessary when good food markets such as Whole Foods (or Waitrose in the UK) sell excellent individual meringues. Wholefoods make their own meringues; plain, pistachio or lemon – all fabulous for making a mess such as this….they’re sold by weight and as they weigh next to nothing, you get a lot for your money.
3 cups of combined raspberries and sliced strawberries
5-6 good sized individual meringues
2 cups of whipped cream
A sprinkle of fine white sugar
Toss the strawberries and raspberries in a small amount of sugar and set aside.
Whip the cream until you have soft peaks and a quantity measuring 1 pint.
Break the meringues into approx one-inch chunks and fold into the whipped cream.
Layer the fruit and cream/meringue mixture into pretty serving dishes.
Chill for 20-30 minutes before serving.