Eton Mess
“Eton Mess” is one of those silly names the English have for homey dishes, like Toad in a Hole (sausages cooked in popover batter), Bubble and Squeak (fried mashed potatoes with cabbage), Spotted Dick (boiled pudding with raisins), and Wet Nelly (bread pudding). One story says the name originated at Eton college when a dog sat on a picnic basket that contained a strawberry meringue cake. The resulting mess was so delicious, they’ve been squashing them ever since.

Try this with cooked rhubarb or a mixture of rhubarb and strawberries for a lower-carb version.

For Meringues
4 egg whites from large eggs, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
5 tablespoons powdered erythritol*
High Intensity sweetener equal to 1 tablespoon sugar, such as stevia or monk fruit
½ teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract
A tiny pinch of salt

For Strawberries:
1 pound fresh, ripe strawberries**
Sweetener equal to 2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of liqueur (Chambord, Framboise, or other flavor), optional
½ teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract

For Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream***
Sugar substitute equal to 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Meringues:
Preheat oven to 250° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone matt.

Place egg whites in a glass or metal bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar, sweeteners, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed until mixture makes peaks that lop over slightly when beaters are lifted, but not until stiff and dry.

Spoon or pipe meringue onto  pan to make about 20 mounds.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200° F and bake for an additional 18 to 20 minutes. Meringues should be crisp and with just a hint of browning. Turn off oven and leave meringues in oven with light on for from 3 hours to overnight until completely dry all the way through. Peel off parchment and store airtight until needed. When ready to assemble desserts, crush meringes, leaving some larger pieces and saving all the crumbs.

For Berries:
Place about 1/3 of the strawberries (6 ounces) in a bowl and mash with a fork or puree in a food processor. Add sweetener, liqueur (if using), and vanilla. Slice the remaining berries.

For Whipped Cream:
Chill a glass or metal bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer for 30 minutes.

Place cream, sweetener, and vanilla in bowl and beat on medium-high until it forms soft peaks. Reduce speed of mixer and continue to beat to stiff peaks, but be careful not of over-beat and make butter. Place in refrigerator until ready to assemble dessert.

Place a spoonful of berries in each of 4 or 6 serving bowls. Add a spoonful of the mashed strawberry mixture. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed meringues. Repeat layers, ending with whipped cream. Sprinkle with crushed meringue pieces and garnish with a berry.

Tip: If dessert is made ahead of time, leave out the meringue bits and add them on top just before serving. They will soften if left in the mixture for more than a few minutes.

Meringue recipe adapted from Shannon’s Sugar-free Meringues.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Nutrition Data per each of 6 servings:
Calories: 195; Protein: 8.6g; Fat: 15.1g; Fiber: 1.5g; Carbs: 7.5g; Net Carbs: 6g
Nutrition Data per each of 4 servings:
Calories: Calories: 292; Protein: 12.9g; Fat: 22.7g; Fiber: 2.3g; Carbs: 11.2g; Net Carbs: 8.9g
Optional items and sweeteners not included in counts.

*If using Swerve or an erythritol blend that contains stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose, use 6 tablespoons and omit high-intensity sweetener.

1. Use all or part cooked rhubarb instead of strawberries for a lower carb version. Sweeten to taste and add 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, if desired.

Nutrition Data per each of 6 servings made with 1 pound rhubarb:

Calories: Calories: 186; Protein: 8.8g; Fat: 15.1g; Fiber: 1.4g; Carbs: 5.1g; Net Carbs: 3.7g

2. Use plain yogurt, sweetened to taste, instead of cream. No beating required!

Photo, © 2016 by Judy Barnes Baker

© 2016, Judy Barnes Baker

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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