When we lived in the UK I fell in love with a summer dessert called an Eton Mess. It can be made with any ripe berry. It is a gorgeous combination of berries, whipped cream (or clotted cream) and meringue. I was recently pining for an Eton Mess, but we are no longer in berry season. It occurred to me that I could swap out the summer berries and use winter cranberries instead. I was delighted with the result. This dessert requires three parts: meringue, whipped or clotted cream and a fruit mixture. Although you can certainly make your own meringue, I took the easy way out and bought mine. It should be noted that this is a perfect dessert to serve to gluten-free friends.
- 30 small meringue cookies (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
- One 8-oz bag fresh cranberries
- ½ large naval orange including the peel and pith, cut into 8 pieces
- ¼-½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup Amaretto
- One 10-oz jar prepared lemon curd (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 2 cups of cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Cut the meringue cookies into bite size pieces. Set aside.
Place the cranberries and orange in a food processor. Process on pulse until the orange and the cranberries are small enough to make relish. Remove from the food processor. Add sugar and Amaretto and mix well. If you like your cranberries very tart, stick with a quarter cup of sugar. If that is just too tart for you – go for the second ¼ cup. Put the cranberry relish in the fridge. The relish will be best if it is made a day ahead.
Whip the heavy cream with the Amaretto and sugar until soft peaks form. Clotted cream works too and is a the more traditional choice in England. We’ve already busted out of the expected framework by using cranberries – so feel free to go in whatever direction you wish with the whipped or clotted cream.
This dessert looks great in tall clear glasses, or clear bowls. If you have neither, no worries. Put a spoonful of whipped cream at the bottom of your serving dish. Spoon a teaspoon of cranberry relish on top of the whipped cream. Add a couple of chunks of meringue and then a dollop of whipped cream. Add a generous tablespoon of lemon curd. Repeat until you have your preferred serving size. You can put this together up to one hour before serving, much longer than that and the meringues will be soggy and the whipped cream will start to melt.