So often the best parties are the ones that aren’t scheduled months in advance or curated down to the last detail. Case in point was a recent gathering of girlfriends celebrating multiple birthdays. It was an unusually warm night, which meant lingering outside longer than San Francisco evenings usually allow. The tables and countertops were crowded with sparkling wine and potluck appetizers made by some of the best home cooks I know. And the celebration capped off with the hostess dashing into the kitchen to make an impromptu bowl of one of my favorite desserts: Eton Mess.

Traditionally English

Eton Mess is a fabulous dessert with a funny name. It originates from Eton College, a boarding school in the English countryside. I imagine it’s called a “mess” since, when you mix up the ingredients — strawberries, whipped cream, and meringue — it look rather messy. The taste, however, is nothing short of dreamy.

Although the recipe comes to us by way of the Brits, I couldn’t think up a more perfect Fourth of July dessert. I’ve prettied things up by adding a variety of berries and layering the ingredients in single-serve glasses rather than mixing and serving everything from one big bowl.

Simple to Make

The only real work involved is whipping cream and cutting strawberries. Precision isn’t important, so feel free to riff on quantities and scale the recipe up or down depending on how many guests will be at your table.

There’s a playful bit of irony in serving a very English dessert on a holiday that celebrates victory over our English rivals. While the Brits may have lost the Revolutionary War, they succeeded in making a fabulous, Fourth of July-worthy dessert. Make it on the 4th, or save it for your next unplanned, unscripted gathering of friends.

Looking for more berry desserts? Check out Rosewater Panna Cotta with Melted Raspberries or Berries in a Cloud.

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Eton Mess Parfaits with raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
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Eton Mess Parfaits

Though a very simple dessert to pull together, Eton Mess is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. In the interest of keeping it easy, the recipe calls for store-bought meringues, which are sold in many supermarkets and specialty food stores. Feel free to make your own meringues if the mood strikes. The recipe can easily be doubled. 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 285 kcal
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups roughly crumbled meringue cookies
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries

Instructions

  1. Pour the cream into a medium bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, and whip until it reaches soft peaks.

  2. Spoon the strawberries into 4 glasses or jelly jars, dividing it evenly. Spoon half of the whipped cream over the strawberries, dividing it evenly among the 4 glasses. Top the whipped cream with half of the crumbled meringue. Spoon the blueberries over the meringue. Add the remaining whipped cream, followed by the remaining meringue. Finish by topping the desserts with the raspberries. Confused? The order is as follows: strawberries, half the whipped cream, half the meringue, blueberries, half the whipped cream, half the meringue, raspberries. 

  3. Serve with spoons.

This post originally appeared on Pop Sugar.

Eton Mess Parfait with text