Chocolate Eton Mess

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. And when poor judgement in the kitchen gives you runny pavlova, turn it into something else.

At least that’s what I did yesterday. I tried to make a chocolate pavlova, which is a pillow of meringue baked until the outside is crisp while the inside stays soft and chewy. Topped with whipped cream and strawberries, it was going to be gorgeous and decadent. Only I think I pulled it out of the oven too soon and under the crisp exterior was an oozing mess.

Instead of tossing it all in the trash, I decided to get creative. Eton Mess to the rescue!

Chocolate Eton Mess

Chocolate Eton Mess

What is Eton Mess? It’s a combination of crushed meringues, whipped cream, and strawberries, named for the English school that made the dessert famous. I already had all of the ingredients, and since my pavlova was a crumbly mess it seemed like a no-brainer.

In about five minutes I had little glass dishes filled with messy mounds of chocolate meringues, juicy strawberries and vanilla scented whipped cream. They were delicious, decadent but still light, and my dinner guests had no idea that I had planned on serving them anything else.

Chocolate Eton Mess

The recipe for the chocolate meringues below is a tried and true recipe, and not the same one I used for the (failed) pavlova, so don’t worry.

Tips for Whipping Meringue

  • Make sure your bowl and whisk are completely clean and dry.
  • Eggs at room temperature whip more easily.
  • Separate your eggs carefully so that no yolk is mixed with the whites. The yolk contains fat which will hinder volume.
  • Add the sugar very gradually once the egg whites have foamed.
  • Bake immediately, the meringue will deflate over time.

Chocolate Eton Mess


Chocolate Eton Mess
A light and easy dessert made of crushed meringues, whipped cream, and juicy strawberries. Perfect for any summer table.
Yield: 6-8 servings
For the chocolate meringues:
  • ½ cup (112 grams) egg whites, from about 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (15 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces (55 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
For the strawberries:
  • 2 cups (1 lb, 455 grams) strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup (237 ml, 8 fl oz) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional strawberries, for garnish
  • Additional chopped chocolate, for garnish
To make the meringues:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk frequently until sugar is dissolved. I tested with my fingers to make sure all sugar granules were dissolved.
  3. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until meringue is stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes. Sift the cocoa powder over the meringue, add the chopped chocolate, and gently fold together with a spatula until incorporated.
  4. Scoop out onto the prepared sheet pans in rounded tablespoons, about 2 inches apart. Baking 2 sheet pans at a time, bake for 8 minutes then rotate pans and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until meringues are puffed and cracked. Let cool completely.
To prepare the strawberries:
  1. Toss together the strawberries and sugar and let sit for at least 15 minutes until juices develop.
To make the whipped cream:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until thickened. Add the sugar slowly while continuing to whisk, followed by the vanilla. Beat to soft peaks.
To make the Eton mess:
  1. Crush the cooled meringue cookies and fold into the whipped cream with the strawberries and their juices. Spoon into individual dishes and garnish with more strawberries and chopped chocolate, if desired.
Note: This dessert is best served within a few hours of assembly. If preparing far in advance, store the meringues, whipped cream, and strawberries separately and only combine just before serving.

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12 Responses to Chocolate Eton Mess

  1. Yum! This looks great! Such beautiful photography too!

  2. I love it when these kitchen fails turn out so delicious – I think I like the Eton Mess version better!

  3. Oh, well…there’s nothing much to say about this recipe…I mean, it’s just amazing! A cup of all my favorite ingredients: juicy strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream. Pure perfection.

    xo, Elisa

  4. Irma Stella says:

    I must confess that I envy you …. I am following your blog for several months and each time you surprise us with your fabulous and easy recipes. Thanks for sharing! You are a true inspiration.

  5. Flavia says:

    These are gorgeous, Annalise. I have never made meringue before only because the humidity here in Houston is terrible and I think I would have a hard time being successful. I love how you were resourceful and made a new dessert from something that didn’t turn out quite right. And it became something fun and creative!

  6. I can relate so much to this post. When I was learning how to make meringues in my early days they ALWAYS would turn out burnt or weepy or just plain wrong. while i used to be disappointed, but They were always used up as a crunchy addition to cake or as a base of a tart.
    But this reminds me of english summers, eton mess always go down well.

  7. Eton Mess, or any messy dessert for that matter, is a favorite!! I’m sure this tasted like a masterpiece even though the meringue didn’t turn out like you expected!

  8. Mr. & Mrs. P says:

    We have had our share of kitchen disasters and have turned them around also!!

    What a beautiful dessert!!! They would also look beautiful served in small mason jars!

  9. Sues says:

    I love this idea. Love that it’s called a “mess,” but it’s really a BEAUTIFUL mess!

  10. Oh wow I love eton mess, chocolate eton mess sounds even better! This looks totally gorgeous!

  11. Recipe Lover says:

    I love the idea of this ‘deconstructed’ pac! Simple ingredients, presents well and sounds like it would taste amazing. Very nice photography too!

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