This is a classic dessert recipe that can be found in the repertoire of every British celebrity chef. Combining raspberries, strawberries, meringue cookies and cream makes for a satisfying dessert. I’ve turned this dessert vegan by replacing egg whites with aquafaba or chickpea liquid. Heavy cream is substituted by folding in coconut yogurt with whipped aquafaba. This stuff is amazing!
This is a dairy-free dessert. The work is minimal but the result is transforming.
You are whipping the leftover liquid from a can of chickpea that usually goes down the drain. Make sure you whip up the chickpea liquid or aquafaba for 15 minutes in a stand mixer to stiff peaks. Use the same whipped aquafaba to bake the meringues. To make the cream, combining it with coconut yogurt.
The result is a delightful fruit dessert without any dairy products. I don’t want to get caught without a vegan alternative recipe at times when I need one. If I can make vegan desserts as well as the conventional ones, I’d consider that a breakthrough. It’s worth experimenting if it means better health outcome.
Eton mess is first mentioned in print in 1893. It is commonly believed to originate from Eton College and is served at the annual cricket match. Although this berries and cream dessert has a long history, the vegan version, on the other hand, has a distinct ephemeral and delicate quality. The traditional method is, undoubtedly, sturdier. The vegan adaptation is best served and enjoyed as it is made. The longer it sits, the meringue and the vegan cream will go weepy. Or you can put the berries, meringue and the vegan cream in a separate bowl. Assemble by folding the berries into the cream and sprinkle broken pieces of meringue at the bottom or on the top of a glass.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the IHCC‘s current featured chef, has a raspberry and strawberry Eton mess in his cookbook River Cottage Every day. This week at IHCC, we are presenting recipes that hit the sweet spot. I chose this Eton mess recipe. Hugh recommends replacing berries with apple compote as an alternative. The recipe is shown below.
I have written about the vegan meringue in a previous post and compared that with the egg-white based meringue in a Merveilleux recipe. The vegan whipped cream made its debut in a French toast with a berry sauce recipe a while ago. The coconut cream shown in the vegan Eton mess is made by folding coconut yogurt with aquafaba whipped cream in a roughly 1 to 2 (creamy) or 1 to 3 (lighter) ratio, depending on the texture you desire. The merveilleux and French toast recipes have a French accent. The vegan technique, using aquafaba, is now taking on a somewhat global appeal, pairing it with a British classic. A healthful twist that can go anywhere.
Vegan Eton Mess with Berries, Aquafaba Meringue & CreamPrint Recipe
- 250g / 2 cups fresh strawberries
- 250g / 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 35g / 2 ½ tablespoons caster sugar
- 350ml / 1 ½ cups heavy cream, lightly whipped
- For the meringue
- 2 egg whites
- 100g / ½ cup caster sugar
Start with the meringue: put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl and whisk until they hold soft peaks. Now add half the sugar and whisk to blend well with the egg white. Add the remaining sugar and whisk again until the mixture is thick and shiny and holds stiff peaks. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without anything sliding out.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dollop dessertspoonfuls of meringue on the sheet and place in an oven preheated to 250°F. Leave for 2 hours, until the meringues are completely dry and crisp on the outside (they will still be a bit squidgy in the middle) and can be lifted off the paper easily. Remove and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, halve the strawberries, thickly slicing any whoppers. Put in a large bowl with the raspberries and sugar. Roughly crush and squeeze a few of the berries with your hands so the juices start to run. Cover and leave to macerate in the fridge for an hour or two.
To assemble the mess, break the meringues into rough pieces, then fold into the whipped cream. Now lightly fold in the chilled fruit, so everything is rippled together rather than thoroughly blended. Pile into glasses and serve. You can make it an hour or so in advance, but not more, or the meringue will go weepy in the cream.
A vegan or dairy-free version of this recipe is available. See the cheat sheet for aquafaba meringues and links above for details. No need to throw out the liquid from a can of chickpea. Strain and whip it up in a stand mixer for about 15 minutes. Voila! This stuff is amazing.