So who’s Eton and why is his Mess so special that I’m writing about it? Well, Eton is actually not a who, but an it, a college in England. And back in the 1930s this particular college invented and served in its tuck shop a really messy dessert made with strawberries and cream. Later on, someone decided to throw in some meringue to the concoction and that is what we know today as Eton Mess: meringue + heavy cream + (most often) berries. Oh, plus tons of sugar, of course. How else would you make meringue and how else would you whip heavy cream?
White sugar is needed to make the meringue, or as some recipes call it ‘superfine sugar’. ‘Superfine’ is not so ‘super fine’. In my mind it translates more into ‘highly processed ingredient I don’t want to touch’. Then, as if that’s not enough, even more sugar (confectioners’ sugar) is called for to whip the main ingredient: heavy cream. Um, no thank you again.
But I’ll have to admit this traditional English dessert is awfully pretty to look at! And the mere sight of fresh berries almost makes me forget about the sugary cream in which they’re safely nested. So what to do then, when a mere quick glance at the ingredient list puts me off and leaves my cravings unsatisfied? Nothing to do but to make my very own healthy mess! Actually, I think I will call this dessert …. Chris’ Mess! I’ve been wanting a dessert named after me for far too long. I know you do too!
So what is Chris’ Mess? Layers of crunchy coconut chips, pillowy coconut cream and sweet, tart berries. It’s an amazing summer treat and a gem of a crowd pleaser. Remember this for your next high tea. Or Valentines, the perfect excuse to indulge in raw chocolate, coconut cream and strawberries. Oh yes, or for Christmas of course!
I promise you this mess is a mess you’ll want to make and clean up every day. Maybe even twice a day.
Cacao butter, make friends with it! It’s an utterly delicious source of healthy fatty acids Omega 6 and 9 and contains natural antioxidants. We want those! To get the most of cocoa butter, hunt and gather a cold pressed (raw) variety – cold pressing allows it to retain its nutritional value.
About the nutritional benefits of berries – what can I say that hasn’t been said a gazillion times! Get them in your belly! If possible, source organic berries as they are one of the fruits that absorb the most of whatever nasty sprays they get in contact with. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries – I heart them all! As much as I heart my turmeric, but that’s another love story.
To call this a recipe is a bit of a strech, but I’ll go for it anyway. The ‘recipe’ is incredibly quick and effortless. The most difficult part of this delicious mess is …. oh wait, there is no difficult part! You don’t need to nail down the meringue, nor do you need to perfectly whip any cream. No complicated, meticulous steps or measurements here. To top, it can be made with literally any fruits you fancy, topped with any seeds you love. Go crazy and throw in few nuts, why don’t you. And are you thinking cacao powder in that coconut cream? I don’t see why not! Your Mess, Your Playground!
Coconut mousse with berries aka Healthy Eton Mess
Ingredients for the mousse:
- Flesh of two young coconuts (about 1.5 cups)
- 18g cacao butter
- pinch vanilla seeds
- 3 TBSP coconut water
- 1 TBSP raw honey (or maple syrup if you want it vegan)
Ingredients for the strawberry mash:
- A handful of strawberries. Really, that’s all you need.
- 4 strawberries, sliced
- handful of whole strawberries
- handful of whole blueberries
- 2 TBSP coconut chips
- 2 TBSP coconut shreds (or more coconut chips)
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- Melt the cacao butter in a small bowl atop a pot of slowly simmering water.
- Add the coconut flesh, vanilla seeds, honey, coconut water and melted cacao butter to a blender and blitz until you get a silky smooth cream. It’s a matter of seconds.
- Scoop the cream into a bowl and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
- Mash the strawberries with a fork. Scoop half in one glass/bowl and half in another.
- Arrange the sliced strawberries on the sides of the glass/bowl.
- Scoop 1 full TBSP of the coconut cream in each glass, on top of the mashed strawberries.
- Top the cream with 1 TBSP of coconut shreds in each glass.
- Add few whole strawberries and blueberries.
- Top with the rest of the coconut cream, coconut chips, 2-3 strawberries and 2-3 blueberries.
- Generously sprinkle poppy seeds and chia seeds.
- Enjoy chilled.