I always think eton mess is like summer in a glass! Fresh sweet British strawberries, whipped double cream and crunchy sweet meringues.
For my sugar free eton mess I have made sugar free meringue kisses which look super cute and are the perfect size to add into an eton mess or scatter on top!
A tricky thing to achieve with meringues (especially ones which use sweetener instead of sugar) is keeping them white.
I achieved these bright white sugar free meringues by keeping the cooking temperature extremely low and only baking for an hour, but leaving the meringues in the oven overnight to dry out. This ‘cooked’ the meringues enough to create bright white crunchy meringue kisses without any browning!
Meringues need to be made in advance and only added to the dessert once ready to serve. Ideally the meringues should be left overnight to dry out and crisp up. Once added to the dessert they do not stay crisp for long, so it is best to make the dessert and serve straight away to avoid them going soft
For this recipe I use xylitol which has been ground/blitzed into a finer texture. The brand of xylitol that I use and is most widely available in larger supermarkets is Total Sweet. To find a local stockist, please check this link. It is important to note that xylitol, although a natural sweetener, is highly toxic to dogs, so no sharing your GD treats with your furry friends!
If you only want to make a few meringue kisses, then why not use some of the meringue recipe to make some larger meringues like these cream meringues
*NOTE* The meringues need to be made in advance and only placed into the eton mess when ready to serve
Preheat the oven to 85°c (fan) and line a baking tray with baking parchment paper
Blitz/grind the xylitol down so that it is a finer powder (like icing sugar)
Whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until very foamy and then add the xylitol in stages a spoonful at a time, whisking between each spoonful and until soft peaks form
Add the whisked egg whites to a piping bag with a piping nozzle if you have one (or a sandwich bag with corner cut off works too) and pipe out small meringues the size of a 5p coin with a peak on the top of each meringue kiss, leaving a space between each meringue so that they do not touch on the baking parchment paper
Place the meringue kisses into the oven and bake for 1 hour, checking on them regularly to ensure they are not browning. If they start to brown then turn the oven temp down and open the oven door slightly to reduce the cooking temp. (Please be mindful of the safety of children & pets with having the oven door open ajar)
When cooking meringues you are drying them out more than actually cooking/baking them!
After one hour, turn off the oven but leave the meringue kisses inside the warm oven overnight to dry out. This is how I achieve a white meringue, by drying them out rather than overcooking them
By the next day the meringues should have dried out and crisped up enough that you can GENTLY lift them from the baking parchment paper to use. Keep the meringues either in the oven until you use them, or place them in an airtight container
For the Eton Mess
Whip the double cream using a hand whisk or stand mixer until it just holds together thickly (do not over-whip the cream or it will thicken too much and may split)
The consistency should be slightly fluid but thick enough to coat and hold the strawberry pieces (a similar consistency to custard)
Chop half of the strawberries into small pieces approx. 1cm in size and add to the whipped cream and stir well to combine
Blitz the rest of the strawberries in a blender or food processor (or mash well with a fork) to create a raw strawberry sauce. Room temperature strawberries are much sweeter than chilled and so no additional sweetener of flavouring should be needed
Layer the strawberry sauce, strawberry cream and meringue kisses in layers and garnish with a cut strawberry (this recipe should be enough for 4 small servings)
The fruits in this eton mess can be changed for other berries or kiwi. It is not advisable to use banana, mango or pineapple etc. as these fruits are much higher in carbs and are therefore much more difficult to tolerate without spiking blood glucose levels.
If you cannot source xylitol other sweeteners can be used such as erythritol, however I could not get the meringues to stop from browning when using this and the taste wasn't as good, so it really is worth using xylitol for this recipe if you can. If you want to use an artificial sweetener such as Splenda, then please look at my older recipe for sugar free meringues here.
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