The perfect summer Eton Mess Platter

The Eton Mess is a classic dessert that traces its origins to Eton College, the Hogwarts-like British boarding school. The dish is traditionally made with strawberries, broken meringues, and cream. We make ours with macerated berries of all varieties, crushed meringues (handmade or store-bought), ice cream, sorbet, and/or buttermilk frozen yogurt, and piles of softly whipped cream. This version is a particularly fun dessert to serve a summer crowd—assemble it on a large platter with two large serving spoons and let your guests decide what and how much to serve themselves.

Eton Mess Platter

Meringues, softly whipped cream, buttermilk frozen yogurt, sorbet, and berries arranged in an artful mess.

  • 1-2 pints Jeni’s Frosé Sorbet
  • 1-2 pints Jeni’s Lemon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt
  • 1 7-ounce container of meringue disks, crumbled (or make your own, recipe below)
  • Macerated strawberries, plus other berries
  • Whipped cream
  • Lemon zest and mint, to garnish

To assemble, place alternating scoops of Frosé Sorbet and Lemon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt—or any flavors you wish—on a large platter. Break some meringues up and scatter the pieces over the top; too many is about enough here. Then spoon the macerated fruit over it all and add loose clouds of whipped cream. Grate some very fine lemon zest and toss it and some pretty mint on top. Gather a stack of small dessert plates and a handful of spoons and take it all to the table.

Macerated Berries

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1-2 pints raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Cointreau, to taste

Toss strawberries with ½ cup sugar and a few splashes of Cointreau in a large bowl. Lightly macerate with a fork just until juicy.

In a separate bowl, toss raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries with remaining ½ cup sugar and a splash (or two) of Cointreau, just until combined and very lightly macerated.

Whipped Cream

Makes about 3 cups

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups of heavy cream

Chill a large metal or glass bowl that is wider than it is tall (to make it easier to get full strokes and incorporate air into the cream) in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes; it should be cold to the touch.

Pour 2 tablespoons sugar into the bowl. Add vanilla, if using. Pour in a splash of cream and whisk until well blended, then add the rest of the cream and tilt the bowl so that the cream and sugar rest in the crook of the bowl. As you whip, imagine that you are pulling air into the cream. You do not have to go quickly, so don’t overexert yourself. Just continually pull air into the cream in a round motion that begins at your elbow. You will create soft peaks in 2 to 4 minutes. If the cream doesn’t taste sweet enough, add up to 1 more tablespoon sugar.

Meringue Shells

Makes 6–8 shells

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Draw an 8” circle on each of two sheets of parchment paper and line two large baking sheets with the parchment.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a large bowl at medium-low speed until just frothy, about 45 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat the egg whites until white and thick (the consistency of shaving cream), about 2 minutes. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar, beating until incorporated, then beat the whites until they form stiff peaks.

Spoon mounds of the meringue onto the baking sheet(s), leaving 2 inches between them. Using the back of a spoon, create a little hollow in the center of each one.

Bake the meringues until they are crisp all the way through and lift easily off the parchment, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a rack, then transfer to an airtight container.