Traditional Eton mess


This traditional Eton mess recipe by Geoffrey Smeddle is a sumptuous, indulgent, sticky mess of crunchy meringue, tart strawberries and rich cream. This Summer dessert is a British classic, and Geoffrey’s recipe, which was created for the Sunday Herald, is simple to prepare at home.

Type: Dessert

Serves: 6



  • 175g of caster sugar
    3 egg whites
    1 pinch of salt
    1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out


500g of strawberries, hulled and sliced
500ml of double cream, well chilled
1 tbsp of icing sugar


Step 1.

Begin the Eton mess by preheating the oven to 110°C and line 2 trays with parchment paper. Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and begin to whip with a light wire whisk – do not use a heavy, thick whisk as this will knock out air faster than you can whip it in


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
Step 2.

As you whisk, gradually let the sugar drift into the whites little by little so that, by the end of whisking, you have stiff whites which have all the sugar added by the time you are nearing the end of whisking


  • 175g of caster sugar
Step 3.

Next, use a spatula to spread the whipped whites over the trays. For an Eton mess, the meringue will be crushed up later, so the shape is not too important

Step 4.

Once fully spread, transfer to the oven to dry out and crisp. This can take several hours, but check it after the first hour then every half hour or so thereafter depending on your oven

Step 5.

You can remove the meringue when it sounds hollow and brittle when you tap it

Step 6.

Place the cream in a mixer with a whisk attachment then whip gently, taking care not to over-whip


  • 500ml of double cream

Step 7.

If you wish you can add vanilla seeds and icing sugar into the mixer



  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 tbsp of icing sugar



Step 8.

Add half the strawberries to the cream and stir in. Break up the meringue into rough one-inch-sized bits, and add most (but not all) of the meringue to the cream


  • 250g of strawberries
Step 9.

Layer up the cream in glasses (tumblers or Martini glasses will work), alternating layers of the cream with some of the leftover strawberries and meringue


  • 250g of strawberries
Step 10.

Finish the Eton mess with some of the strawberries and a crunchy topping of meringue then serve at once


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Fife, Scotland
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