Rackets, squash and Eton mess
Eton mess originates from Eton college in England. I was very lucky and extremely privileged to be able to go to a respected English Public school. One of the highlights of the year was to travel to Eton college to play them at squash (in the good old days I used to be honoured to be able to play at no.2 in the school squash team).
Eton College is of course where many famous people received their education. Prince Harry and William went to school there, as well as many British Prime Ministers such as David Cameron and Boris Johnson. It is probably the most famous public school in the country.
I also remember on one of our squash matches being allowed on to one of the few rackets courts in the country there (there are only 20 odd) – quite a terrifying experience I can tell you. Rackets is like squash but with a bigger court and they play with a harder ball and stronger racket.
The ball moves so fast it becomes a projectile and it is a very fast and dangerous game. I was told when I stepped out on to the court that playing against the back wall had been banned as someone had once embedded the ball in their forehead and killed themselves doing that on the same court!
Anyhow, enough about the game of rackets and on to the food:
Eton college gives its name to this dessert which is probably one of the simplest and best summer desserts on the planet. If you like strawberries you cannot go wrong (and if you prefer other berries then use something else instead!).
You can use the same recipe below and add raspberries instead to give you a recipe for Eton mess with raspberries. In fact, a raspberry Eton mess is a sort of Eton mess with a twist! Or add different berries for a mixed berry Eton mess.
Wikipedia reports that Eton Mess is served up to the teams at the annual cricket match against Harrow school (who coincidentally also have a couple of rackets courts).
The trick is to get the meringue crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. In the end, it will be broken up to mix with the cream and strawberries anyway. The recipe below is basically a very simple meringue recipe, which will show you how to make meringue. It can be used to make a pavlova or french meringue cookies or whatever you may need some meringue for. In this case, it is of course for our delicious Eton mess.
Making meringue can be a difficult process so might take some practice until you have mastered your own oven and egg whipping techniques. There are three different types of meringue, Italian, French and Swiss. This is a French meringue recipe.
I prefer the meringue upfront, and it can be stored in a Tupperware box (airtight container) for up to several weeks at room temperature. Then to prepare the dessert just whip up the cream, crush your meringue, chop the strawberries and away you go.