taste: Eton Mess

Generations of educational privilege at Britain’s most elite school have yielded many things, but better even than the old-boy networks and the repressed homosexuality is this ridiculously decadent summer dessert. Quantities are all eyeballed – I don’t think Etonians hold with anything as bourgeois as scales. Take about half a pint of heavy cream and whip it in a bowl until it’s nicely thickened. Crush homemade or store-bought meringues into large chunks (since I’m in England, this is a great use for the ’80s dessert staple, meringue nests, always blindingly white and sold in packs of four) and add to the cream, along with about a pound of summer fruit. In descending order of necessity: strawberries (hulled and halved, essential), raspberries (whole, important) and redcurrants (pulled from their stems, nice for a bit of sharpness to cut the sugar). Stir it all together until some of the berries are nicely mashed (this is the ‘mess’ part – use all the finesse of a fourteen-year-old boy) and serve it to your poshest friends along with sunshine, a game of lawn tennis or croquet, and a relaxed sense of your own social superiority.

jolly hockey sticks, is it time for pud?!
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