On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was brought to SoHo House in West Hollywood, where my host had ordered a bowl of what looked like whipped cream and strawberries. Hidden inside the mixture, however, were chunks of fresh meringue. What is this? It is Eton Mess.

SoHo House doesn't allow pictures, but this guy tried to capture their magical mess recently:

The dessert is a traditional British one, which was originally served at Eton College in the 1930s. There were, and still are, variations on the quick dish—in the beginning it was made of either strawberries or bananas, and mixed with ice cream or cream (according to Wikipedia, Meringue was a later addition). You can, of course, use whichever fruit is in season—when I made my own this weekend I used blueberries. Trust me, they're in there somewhere:

ETONMESSSSSS.jpg

You'll want to mix the meringue in, I just left it on top for photo purposes. (Jen Carlson/Gothamist)

This thing takes about 5 minutes to make, and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't try it out.

ETON MESS
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Meringues (the fresher the better)

Here we turn to Nigella Lawson, who instructs, "Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly crumble in the meringues—you will need chunks for texture as well as a little fine dust." From there, add whatever fruit you are using.

A note, from experience: only add the meringues in a little bit before you plan to dig in, if they're left too long (say, overnight) they will disintegrate and become part of the cream, and you don't want that.

Otherwise, be creative! Just don't do THIS—more like Eton Neat amirite?

Strawberry Eton Mess ❤️ @thepuddingbar #strawberry #meringue #icecream #dessert #pudding #soho

A photo posted by Felicia (@the_cheeksterx) on

The SoHo House in New York also serves this dish, but they have yet to reply to our request for their recipe. Probably because we don't know the secret handshake.