Eton mess is a British dessert consisting of meringue, strawberries, and whipped cream. The dessert is surprisingly easy to make, and it’ll give you a fun project to try out at home! This specific dessert caught the eye of our editors because it was featured in the English matriculations this fall. In this article you’ll find a decent recipe, which is easy enough to follow along with, as well as of course the adventure the recipe took us on!
‘t was a breezy September day when the Abis walked into the small gym in the fall of the year of doom, often referred to as 2020, to take their matriculation exam. Some approached the matriculations for the first time in their life, to try their hand at the English matriculation examination. Some had been preparing for this moment for nearly three years, some had simply woken up and arrived to take the exam with minimal preparation. No matter the preparation level of the students, however, none of them had any idea what was about to hit them in the face - an exam with ridiculous exercises and listening comprehensions filled with background noise to not test the level of english, but instead the level of concentration. The worst according to some, however, was a reading comprehension with a “match the picture” element regarding meringues.
An example of a meme about the English Matriculation Examinations.
The so-called geniuses at the Matriculation Examination Board (YTL) had included an exercise, which would be the topic of much discussion after the exam. The exercise had students first answering a few multiple choice questions about the text they had been given, and then they were asked to choose the picture representing the Eton mess, as described in the text, from three options.
As mentioned previously, this exercise caused a lot of confusion and discussion after the exam. Memes were made, complaints were filed, all the usual steps were taken in an attempt to recover from this traumatic event. It is fairly safe to say that nearly every abi goes through the five steps of grief after the matriculation exams. First comes denial, when abis wish to take a deep breath after the exam before discussing it with anyone, denying their trauma from the event. This is followed by anger, when abis debate the exercises Lady Luck had delivered them that day amongst each other and really anyone that will listen to them. Next comes bargaining, which is the step where abis look at the HVPs, or the sheet where the “correct answers” are listed, in an attempt to search for relief in finding answers where they may receive points. After this naturally comes depression, as students realize they did worse than they even expected. Even if the students did well, they will be haunted by the exercises they got wrong. The last step is acceptance, which could also be named forgetfulness, as students forget their mistakes and patiently wait for the official evaluations given to them by the Matriculation Examination Board.
This project and article could very well be categorized into the “memes” category, as we absolutely wanted to do this as something of a joke. We ourselves had to sit through this exam, and found some of the exercises quite ridiculous. The school’s new newspaper, aka Huhuu, had also already begun as a project, so we wanted to see if we could combine these two. In the end, we decided to look up a recipe for Eton mess and see if we could make it ourselves, to perhaps lessen the trauma from the exam. You could consider this the same process through which witches and wizards battle their worst fears, taken on by a Boggart, in the Harry Potter franchise with the riddikulus-spell. We make fun of our trauma to lessen the effect, and that is the true objective of this article.
The Recipe and Our Failures
We chose to use a recipe made by the Kitchn, as we found it to be quite simple and didn’t require any ingredients we found to be too bizarre, as some of the other recipes we looked at did. One thing in the recipe we did have to go looking for was Cream of Tartar, which we ended up finding from Ruohonjuuri. No, unfortunately we aren’t sponsored by them (or anyone really), at least currently.
Since this whole thing was a meme going in, we at the very least wanted to do it properly. That means that we made the whole thing from scratch, including the meringue itself. This might’ve been a massive mistake.
The Mistake Called Meringue
For simplicity we also chose to use the Kitchn’s meringue recipe, which was linked to the recipe for the Eton mess, which we had already decided to use. Please note, dear reader, that it is absolutely advisable to use ready-made meringues that you can buy from most stores. We, however, were young and dumb.
On the surface, the recipe for meringues isn’t anything too special. Just some egg whites, sugar, and optional additions, such as food coloring and vanilla extract. We’d recommend adding both of these optional ingredients, as they bring flavor and make the meringues taste better. For food coloring, we chose to use red, and accomplished pink meringues as a result. If you do decide to make meringues yourself, be sure to also get piping bags! They make the process of getting the meringue onto the baking sheet a lot easier, and you can even do cool patterns if you know how. We did not know how.
The meringues don’t have to be beautiful, the only goal is deliciousness.
After the meringue’s eternal stay in the oven, or about 90 minutes in our case, we finally had meringues to smash for our Eton mess.
Our meringues turned out quite good-looking. That wasn’t the goal though. The goal was deliciousness. For some reason, our meringues turned out somehow… wrong. They had the consistency of slightly tough marshmallows and the taste wasn’t as sweet as it should’ve been, instead hovering around the same area as salty toffee. As stated previously, the meringues were a mistake and we should’ve used store bought ones, but live and learn.
Due to the fact that the meringues adopted a consistency unfavourable for its creators, smashing the meringues to make the Eton mess became more difficult. In fact, we could only smash two of our meringues properly. For the rest of them, we had to settle for tearing the meringues apart one by one into smaller pieces.
Two of the meringues had the right consistency and were easy to smash the proper way.
A Mess You Don’t Need a Vacuum For
Even before the meringues were rescued from the oven, we had already begun making the Eton mess itself. After the difficulty with meringues, the mess itself was quite easy to make, as it only included some strawberries, the juice from half a lemon, some sugar and some heavy cream that ended up as whipped cream.
After chopping up the strawberries into smaller bits and pieces, it was time to squeeze a half a lemon for its juices. It’s very important that none of the lemon seeds make it into the bowl, unless you like the added salicylic acid.
After all was said and done, meaning that the whipped cream had been whipped, the strawberries had been chopped, the lemon had been juiced, and the meringues had been torn to pieces, at last, it was time to assemble the final dish.
The mess we had created was surprisingly delicious!
Overall the dish itself was very easy to create and the only reason we messed the mess up was because we foolishly tried to make our own meringue with zero experience beforehand. Even with the odd consistency and taste of the meringue, however, the final dish was palatable, and some, including myself, would even call it good! It turns out that messing up the Eton mess is quite difficult, even with awful meringues. This dish is easy to make at home and we would definitely recommend it to anyone!
I give it four owls out of five. 🦉🦉🦉🦉
This piece was written and organized by Heikki Helppi
Pictures were taken by Emma Lampen-Smith
Special thanks to:
- Otto Blomberg
- Magnus Buinevitš
- Emma Lampen-Smith
- Jonas Papathemelis
- Isabella Liuha