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East End Mess a.k.a. Blueberry Eton Mess

Blueberry Eton Mess. A simple but luxurious dessert made from a quick cooking blueberry compote, crispy baked meringue and vanilla whipped cream.

Blueberry Eton Mess close up photo

Blueberry Eton Mess

Today’s recipe is inspired by Eton Mess, a very well known dessert in the UK. Legend has it that many years ago it began as a strawberry pavlova that was brought along to the annual cricket match and picnic at the famous boys school, Eton College.

The story goes that a rambunctious Labrador sat on the picnic basket containing that much anticipated pavlova! However, the picnickers ate it anyway and Eton Mess was born.

I’m not sure that I believe a word of that story but the telling of it has been enjoyed for decades.

Blueberry Eton Mess wide shot in a pedestal trifle dish.

Blueberry Eton Mess

The original recipe uses slow baked, harder textured meringues which bake at a low temperature for several hours. Instead of those more time consuming meringues and borrowing from the origin story, I start by making my own  version. 

I’ve used a simple meringue pavlova, which I think gives the same flavour with much better melt-in-your-mouth texture.

The local connection for Blueberry Eton Mess.

The “east end” part of the name is my tongue in cheek way of paying homage to the original dish but with a local twist. I do live in the east end of St. John’s, near historic Signal Hill.

There, in late summer and early fall, you can wander the hill picking the best wild blueberries in the world.

Blueberries Picked on Signal Hill

Blueberries Picked on Signal Hill

 

Blueberries beginning to ripen.

Blueberries beginning to ripen.

 

Fort Amherst at the mouth of St. John's Harbour

Fort Amherst at the mouth of St. John’s Harbour, from Signal Hill, St. John’s.

I turned some of those blueberries into a quick cooked compote which gets swirled through whipped cream, layered with broken pieces of pavlova then topped with more blueberry compote.

Wild Newfoundland Blueberries for Blueberry Rum Slush

Frozen blueberries are just as good to make the blueberry compote used in this recipe.

The kids and our dinner guests absolutely loved this simple, luscious dessert with more than one asking for seconds.

A slight word of caution. this is not a make ahead dessert. It is meant to be prepared and enjoyed in the same day, preferably within a few hours of preparation.

Left for overnight for example, the meringue pavlova would begin to dissolve and lose its crunchy, slightly chewy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Fresh blueberries close up.

Fresh blueberries are amazing in season but you can easily use frozen instead.

The recipe is also quite large and would serve about 10 people, so making only half the recipe is a good option if you are serving only a few people.

Be careful though, once your diners get their first mouthful of this amazing dessert, they may well be asking for seconds.

Does Blueberry Eton Mess make you long for more British desserts?

If you are a fan of British inspired desserts, like me, be sure to check out our most popular recipe yet for a Uk favourite dessert, Sticky Toffee Pudding.

How to make Perfect Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Blueberry Eton Mess. Photo with title text for Pinterest

Blueberry Eton Mess

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Blueberry Eton Mess close up photo
Yield: 10 or more servings

Blueberry Eton Mess

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooling time for meringue & compote: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes

Blueberry Eton Mess. A simple but luxurious dessert made from a quick cooking blueberry compote, crispy baked meringue and vanilla whipped cream.

Ingredients

For the pavlova

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

For the Blueberry Compote

  • 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

For the Vanilla Whipped Cream

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 4 rounded tablespoons powdered sugar, icing sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Begin by preparing a pavlova meringue.

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks and gradually add the sugar slowly, whipping until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Pinch the meringue between your fingertips to feel that all of the sugar granules have completely dissolved. Sprinkle the meringue with the corm=n starch and vinegar.
  4. Fold in the corn starch and vinegar gently with a rubber spatula.
  5. This step helps a crisp crust to form on the meringue. Drop the meringue onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread it out into a 9 inch circle.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until small cracks appear in the meringue.
  7. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

To prepare the Blueberry Compote

  1. Bring the berries and sugar to a gentle boil.
  2. Mix the corn starch with the water and add slowly to the boiling berry mixture stirring constantly.
  3. Boil gently for 1 additional minutes stirring constantly. Cool completely.

To prepare the Vanilla Whipped Cream

  1. Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla to firm peaks
  2. Gently fold in 1/2 of the blueberry compote.There is no need to fully fold in the compote. Leaving streaks of compote ribboned through the whipped cream is desirable.

To assemble the dessert

  1. Simply cut the pavlova into 2 or 3 inch pieces and layer the pieces alternately with the whipped cream and compote mixture.
  2. A trifle dish as pictured, works well. Finish the dessert by adding the remaining blueberry compote on top of the dessert.

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

10 or more servings

Amount Per Serving Calories 466Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 81mgSodium 43mgCarbohydrates 68gFiber 1gSugar 63gProtein 4g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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