Recipe Corner: Healthier Eton Mess

Strawberries! Quiiiick! Get 'em while you can! Get 'em while they're cheap! Get 'em while they're Scottish!

This is my August shopping mantra. For soon it shall be autumnal and dull and appleish, unless you want strawberries flown in from Guatemala at 70 pence per berry. So right now I'm shoving them into smoothies and salads and cereal and clinging onto summer even though it's pishing doon with rain outside.

My favourite ode to strawberries is Eton Mess. From the Wikipedia:

"Eton mess is a dessert of English origin consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual prize-giving celebration picnic on the 'Fourth of June' … One anecdotal story is that the dessert was invented when a Labrador accidentally sat on a picnic basket in the back of a car on the way to a picnic."

Eton mess is basically a mangled pavlova, but with much less faffing. You take just three ingredients – strawberries, meringue and cream – and mix them all together to create a sweet, summery, chewy, delicious… mess. It's also relatively healthy on the dessert spectrum if you make a few tweaks.

1. The strawberries
A couple of handfuls per person. Slice half of them into large chunks and finely chop the others. This way you get nice bitey bits and plenty of smushy juices to seep into the other ingredients.

2. The creamy stuff
I use 2% Total Greek yogurt – a cupful per person. It's just as thick as the traditional whipped cream but obviously a helluva lot better for you. The slight tartness balances the mighty sweetness of the meringues. Many recipes add some sugar to the cream at this point, but you don't need it.

Fage_2

3. The meringues
Meringues are handy buggers to know if you want to make a lower calorie pud. And they're allegedly easy to make yourself – just egg whites and sugar, right? Ho ho ho. My last attempt looked and felt like "a plastic dog turd from a joke shop" so I buy them from the supermarket.

(Aside to Edinburghites: you could totally ponce this up with meringues from Valvona and Crolla – £2 each but they're HUGE and crisp on the outside and gooey in the guts! Rhi found 'em on her last visit. Hubba hubba.)

Here I used some mini ones from ASDA that were only 15 calories each. I used three per serve. Crumble them into a bowl with the strawberries. Plop on then Greek yogurt, then fold it all together.

Chopped

Spoon your Messes into a glass and take a photograph. Be sure to focus on the toaster in the background, so the Mess looks even more messy and indistinct.

Now tuck in a spoon while shouting, "Hurrah!" or "Top banana, old chap" or some other jolly crap that you might imagine blokes at Eton would say.

Mess

Here is a handy link to Google Image Search for more attractive Eaton Messes. Or you can check out Delia Smith's "About as Messy as a bouffant coated in seventeen tins of Elnet hairspray Eton Mess".

Eton Mess also works well with raspberries and other easily pulverised fruits. This tasty version has just 170 caloriesMesscals per serve. And only 340 calories if you accidentally eat two.

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43 thoughts on “Recipe Corner: Healthier Eton Mess

  1. Yum. Might have to try that. You couldn’t manage a low calorie version of cranachan while you’re at it, could you?

  2. Funny, I came across a tarted-up Eton Mess recipe in a foodie mag yesterday. Yours is much less fuss. :p

    I can’ be BOTHERED making meringues. Why would you, when you can buy such nice ones?

  3. Yours looks pretty swish to me.

    I have never had a bought meringue that was worth having – they’ve all been nasty and dry – but perhaps I should try V&C’s.

  4. K – They really are gooood meringues at V&C! Some have bits of fruit in them too.

    Almost as good as my mum’s pavlova!

    Cat – Yeah! I’ve heard it can happen :P

    Loth – I’ve still not tried cranachan! I reckon it would be sacrilege to try and make a healthy version of something Scottish :P

  5. that sounds pretty good. do you think it would work with other berries, too, or would that be bad? (Here in the NW US, we’re done with strawberries, but are solidly in blackberry season.)

  6. Amy – Oooh… blackberries would be ace! Like i said in the entry I reckon any easily squished fruit would do :)

  7. Hi Shauna,
    I just found your site today and I just wanted to say hi. Today, I’m embarking on the first day of my “journey” to lifestyle changes, weight loss, exercise, you name it. Great site, and can’t wait to read the book!

  8. Mmmm Eaton Mess (drools) though don’t do what I did and leave it for too long- the meringues have a nasty habit of dissolving to nothing- or maybe I put too much yoghurt in?

  9. Deeeelish! I made this tonight, but with raspberries (I heart reduced to clear) and full-lard Greek yogurt (no 2% in our piss-poor Tesco) and it was sooooo good. I didn’t even mind that my bf was eating Ben and Jerry choc-brownie ice cream. I got the better deal.

  10. Deeeelish! I made this tonight with raspberries (I heart reduced to clear) and full-lard Total (no 2% in our piss-poor Tesco, this is Gateshead) and it was extraordinarily good. I didn’t even mind that my bf was eating Ben and Jerry’s choc-brownie ice cream. I got the better deal.

  11. Abs – Ooh glad you enjoyed it!

    Just so you know, Tesco only stock 0% and full fat Fage Greek Yogurt. Boo! I even emailled the Fage people to demand to know why but they said it was up to Tesco. Boo again!

    You can get the 2% at Sainsburys and ASDA. No Sainsbury in our parts so I treak ASDA every week or so just to buy a few more tubs, hehe.

    MizFit – come on over! Bring me some peanut butter M&Ms. oh i mean, bring me something really healthy like.

    Jimmie – Hiya there, nice to meet you! Happy bloggin’ and loadsa good luck comrade :)

  12. Oooh, I’ll definitely have to try this! Queensland is on the verge of growing strawberries year-round, now I just have to ask them for blueberries, blackberries and raspberries year-round…

    And what’s unhealthy about cranachan? Raspberries, oats, whisky…! I used to work in a Big Fancy Hotel in Edi, and occasionally I’d sneak in some low-fat Greek yogurt along with the heavy cream, and nobody ever noticed the difference. Yum!

  13. Sounds delicious, never would have thought to replace whipped cream with 2% Total but it’s a great plan, 2% is so much better than 0% so must hunt it out at Sainsbury’s very soon. Might use the yoghurt plan for a pavlova I was planning on making.

  14. I agree! It’s very easy to accidentally eat 2 – just like you can accidentally eat a whole bar of Green & Blacks.

  15. I luuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee eton mess!! !

    i do mine with low fat strawberry/raspberry/blueberry/whicheverberry yoghurt!!

    its welllll yummy!!!

    x

  16. made your version of eton mess tonight! went down very well!

    also had cranachan last week, courtesy of my mother-in-law, who is Irish and an awesome cook – some things should never be low-fatted, you’re right, just only eat them twice a year!

    Made a great fruity dessert yesterday – sliced orange, raspberries and strawberries marinated in 1 tbsp rum with 1tbsp demerera sugar for half an hour, then served with chopped mint and a wee sprinkle of icing sugar. Delish, and only 160 kcal according to my recipe. One to try!

  17. Yeesh! I wish I’d seen this post a few days ago. I had four lbs of strawbs to get through. Ended up making strawberry milkshakes; plus eating them with chocolate icecream; and then making strawberry and pecan cakes (had to freeze one)

    YUM! Will try your recipe next time we get more strawberries.

  18. I bought three punnets of (Irish) strawberries in Tesco this week – perhaps a touch of overkill but the sweetness fools my brain into thinking it’s had something bolder! Will definitely make Eton Mess before the weekend – although the V&C meringues would’ve been a treat. I used to live in Stirling and developed an unhealthy habit of blowing my entire measly student food budget on V&C goodies any time I was in Edinburgh.

  19. I love strawberries. I try to buy strawberries every week at the local farmer’s market. That same night I eat them for dessert with tea. Not only are they super tasty but they are loaded with potent antioxidants and Vitamin C. Yummy and healthy! Nice combo!

  20. I love strawberries. I try to buy strawberries every week at the local farmer’s market. That same night I eat them for dessert with tea. Not only are they super tasty but they are loaded with potent antioxidants and Vitamin C. Yummy and healthy! Nice combo!

  21. I’m so about stealing other people’s cravings at the mo, and this wins. YUMMYYYYYY!

    I love your ‘keeping it real food styling’, DG, with the toaster in the background! If I took a photo of something I’d lovingly prepared (let’s say bowl of Coco Pops), there’d have to be a rogue cold tea bag sitting on the bench.

  22. Mmmm Eton Mess is lush, me and my friend make this all the time its yum! Its nice with blueberries aswell

  23. Ref Valvona & Crolla..mmmm… sorry, drifted there! There’s gonna be a great big new V&C at the refurbished Jenners. I like to go in and just sniff!!

  24. This looks like a fabulous dessert! I’ll have to try it.

    For those of us in the “States”, I’ve found meringues at both Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck ;-) ) and Trader Joe’s.

    I probably don’t know what makes a good meringue, but the cocoa meringues from Whole Foods are pretty good at satisfying a chocolate craving without a lot of calories.

  25. So I thought I would make dinner for my friends, and am supposed to make healthyish things for them (I’m not very good at that) and so we had homemade stovies and then Eton Mess. I had planned to do the healthy version as you recommended, but somehow I ended up buying extra thick double cream by accident. The Eton Mess was delicious and disappeared very quickly!

  26. YUM! And zero calories, who knew?

    If you’re handy, you could up the stakes by making your own insanely easy microwave meringues. Mix together one egg white and enough icing sugar to make a really stiff paste (like marzipan or fondant). You can add a bit of cocoa, or some lemon juice or vanilla if you’re feeling fancy.

    Roll into wee marble-sized balls and put in a circle on non-stick paper on a plate, leaving space between them for rising. I do about 8 at a time.

    Microwave on high for approx a minute, watching carefully to make sure they don’t brown. They might need a smidge more or a smidge less — it depends what kind of microwave you have, and you can adjust the timing for subsequent batches.

    Set them aside for a few minutes to harden off, if you have sufficient willpower.

    Easiest trick ever and impresses the pants off party guests! (Esp if you practice it first to get the timing juuust right).