This recipe is not actually a cake, but a creamy dessert made with meringue. Though it can be easily turned into a cake: just bake a pie crust and put the 'mess' into it!
The most well-known version of Eton mess is made with strawberries. However they can be easily replaced with bananas when not in season. One of historical versions of this recipe refers to bananas as a primary ingredient.
If you are making a banana mess Italian meringue is recommended: light brown color and caramel taste contrast perfectly with bananas and whipped cream. Alternatively you may bake French meringue using caramel sugar.
Italian meringue of 6 egg whites
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Whip the heavy cream with a mixer. You may also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract at your taste.
Purify one banana with a blender and cut the second one into small pieces. They will be folded into the 'mess'.
Pour banana pure into the whipped cream.
Crash the meringue into large chunks and put into whipped cream mixture together with banana pieces. Next step is optional: either mix them together or just put the mixture into dessert cups as it is.
Another way is just to put all the ingredients layer by layer into individual dessert glasses.
You may use either dessert glasses or bowls or even beer glasses for serving. Strew with grated lemon zest, put a couple of banana pieces on top and serve immediately. Looks like a total mess? Congratulations! This is exactly what it was supposed to be!
Eton mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue, and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual cricket game against the pupils of Harrow School. The dish has been known by this name since the 19th century. According to Recipes from the Dairy (1995) by Robin Weir, who spoke to Eton College's librarian, Eton mess was served in the 1930s in the school's "sock shop" (tuck shop), and was originally made with either strawberries or bananas mixed with ice-cream or cream. Meringue was a later addition, and may have been an innovation by Michael Smith, the author of Fine English Cookery (1973). An Eton mess can be made with many other types of summer fruit, but strawberries are regarded as more traditional. A similar dessert is the Lancing mess, served throughout the year at Lancing College in West Sussex, England.
The word mess may refer to the appearance of the dish, or may be used in the sense of "a quantity of food", particularly "a prepared dish of soft food" or "a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together". A recent myth is that Eton mess was first created when a meringue dessert was accidentally crushed by a dog while travelling to picnic at Eton College, but what could be salvaged was was served as a crushed meringue with strawberries and cream.
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