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This Dessert is the Perfect Excuse to Play with Your Food

Phoebe Fry

July 09, 2019

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Dorie Greenspan Eton Mess photo by Ellen Silverman
Photo: Ellen Silverman

Born way back in the 19th century, Eton Mess can seem like a stuffy dessert with its meringue firmly in the past. But trust us when we say that this is not your grandmother’s Eton Mess. Multiple James Beard Award winner Dorie Greenspan takes the traditional English “pudding” and lets her imagination run wild, imbuing the dish with citrus, liqueur, and additional crunch in this recipe from her 2019 Beard Award–nominated Everyday Dorie. It’s not only doable, but fun to make at home, yielding a beautiful tangle of meringue, compote, berries, and cream.

Greenspan begins with the meringue, gently folding in Biscoff cookie crumbs for a crisp textural element and hint of caramelized flavor. After baking the meringue and letting it dry, she tackles the fruit compote, which combines strawberries and rhubarb with sugar, lime, and an optional splash of crème de cassis. Next, she whips cream and prepares extra strawberries. To assemble, Greenspan flips the script, layering spoonfuls of compote, cream, and berries in a dessert coupe and crumbling meringue over the top. Tap into your creativity during this step; the Mess is a forgiving dessert. Get the recipe.

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Phoebe Fry is the media intern at the Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.