Okay, so I decided to make something festive for like the second time, and it turned out to be a 4th of July eton mess. Get the irony? Or is it patriotically unacceptable to have a British dessert on a day in which we declared independence from Britain?
I mean, you don’t have to mention it’s a British dessert. It can just be the most delicious, decadent and fluffy dessert ever. How can it not be? This ridiculously easy and refreshing dessert is composed of meringues, whipped cream, and FRUIT!!!! Specifically, balsamic strawberries and blueberries. If you’re sticking your nose in the air right now, thinking vinegar + strawberries??? that has to be the most disgusting combo ever!, you stand corrected. Trust.
Anywho, meringues are the best things ever. Like really. My perfect one is always going to be crispy all over, but sometimes, it might be slightly chewy in the middle (for that liittttttlllee change in texture, ya know?). Oh and it has to be white. A bit tinted to hit that they were cooked, maybe. But never NEVER in the whole wide world will they be YELLOW or BROWN. No no NO!!!!
Oh and they have to be smooth too. As in the meringue when piped out, should be perfectly smooth and creamy. It should not look curdled. 😐
Okay, so back to the eton mess. Since they’re made of three components that don’t exactly have to be mixed together for this fail-proof recipe to work, I took this opportunity and LAYERED everything. Yaaaassssss. No regrets.
What could be better on a hot summer day? Even if you don’t make this for the 4th of July, it’s absolutely wonderful anytime! The whipped cream is lightly sweetened and dotted with sweet, crunchy meringues, juicy strawberries, and plump blueberries. The strawberries macerated in the balsamic vinegar really develops more flavor and it doesn’t taste like you put in vinegar at all! I dunno what happens, but the flavor kinda mellows and it’s absolutely the best thang ever. So go! Try it!
-The meringues get soggy after being left out in a humid environment. As a result, they’re best eaten shortly after/day of and keep them in a dry location (I always keep mine in the oven). If they do become sticky and weepy, stick them back in the oven, turn on the heat for the lowest it’ll go and keep it in there for 5 – 15 minutes.
-Any fruit works just fine. I did blueberries + strawberries because it’s what is in season (plus 4th of July!).
-I didn’t put the blueberries in the balsamic vinegar -they were added when layering. You can, however, add in the blueberries with the strawberries to macerate.
-You don’t have to stick the fruit in balsamic vinegar if you don’t want to.
-This is best assembled up to an hour before, or else the meringues get soggy and it kinda beats the purpose of meringues.
For the balsamic strawberries (and blueberries), mix all the ingredients together and let it sit for at least 4 hours at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 200 F.
Whip the egg whites. When they become foamy, slowly pour in the granulated sugar while continuously whipping them. Keep whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated. The egg whites should still be pretty stiff.
Pipe rounds onto a parchment sheet.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes without taking them out of the oven.
For the whipped cream, whip all the ingredients for the whipped cream together until soft peaks form.
To assemble, roughly crush some of the meringues into a serving glass and drop in some whole ones also. Add a layer of whipped cream, then the fruit. Repeat until the glass is full. Top with some crushed meringues.