Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Bleu-Blanc-Rouge Dessert for Bastille Day #recipe by @Leslie Karst

Today is Bastille Day, known as la fête nationale in France, so to celebrate, I thought I'd present a bleu-blanc-rouge dessert in honor of the famed tricolore flag of France. (Though, yes, the dish is actually very, very English. But the traditional version uses only strawberries; I've added blackberries to include the bleu.)

Eton Mess is a hallowed dish of the English public school of the same name, composed of whipped cream, fruit, and pieces of meringue. It dates back to the 19th century, and was originally made with bananas, but is now traditionally made with strawberries. The dessert is still served at the annual cricket match between the Eton boys and their nearby rivals from Winchester College.

As to the “mess” part, well that’s a bit obvious once you take a look at the dessert: a big bowl of creamy glop.

Eton Mess
(serves 8-10)

4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 T regular sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 pint raspberries or strawberries
1 pint blackberries
mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

The Meringues:

If your egg whites have been in the refrigerator, take them our and let them come up to room temperature before starting (this hastens the rather long and tedious whipping process).

Preheat the oven to 190°F. Line a baking pan with non-stick parchment paper (I used one of those silicone baking liners).

Put the egg whites in a large glass or metal bowl, to allow plenty of room for them to expand. Beat the whites until foamy, and then sprinkle in the sugar, a little at a time, whipping in between.

Continue beating until the mixture becomes stiff, and shiny like satin. Be patient: this can take 10 or even 15 minutes, if you have an old mixer like mine. (My hand mixer is from the 1950s, and towards the end of my mixing process one of the beaters came loose and caused them to jam:

Spoon the meringue batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip,

and pipe the cookies out onto the baking sheet:

As you can see, mine were a little droopy and could have stood more beating, but they held their form enough to work.

Bake the cookies for about 3 hours, or until they are dry. You can test them periodically, breaking one open to make sure it’s hard all the way through. You don’t want chewy meringues for an Eton Mess, as it’s the crunch you’re after. (Some folks say to put a wooden spoon handle in the oven door to allow the moisture to escape, but I didn’t do this as it meant my oven light would have been on for 3 hours.) Here are what my cookies looked like when they were done (I flipped them over to cool):

To put together the Eton Mess:

(Note: it’s best to wait until shortly before service to compose the Mess, so the meringues don’t get soggy.)

Whip the heavy cream (adding the sugar and vanilla extract half way through) until stiff:

Have ready your meringues, whipped cream, and fruit.

Break the meringues into bite-size pieces (you should have about equal parts meringue and whipped cream):

Mix half the whipped cream with half the meringue pieces in a large serving bowl:

Top with half the berries:

Repeat for a second layer:

Spoon into bowls and enjoy the Mess!

Bonne Fête !

🍓 🌿 🐂

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

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Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:
“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are also available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!


  1. Sounds yummy and definitely one I will be trying. Thanks for sharing!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. The fresh mint in the picture looks like a nice addition.

  3. I only heard of Eton Mess recently and wondered what the heck it is. Now I know! Looks good.