5 Minute Recipes/ Australian/ Christmas/ Dessert/ Recipes

Eton Mess – Mini Pavlova

12/10/2020

This effortless 5 Minute Eton Mess recipe features crumbly pre-made meringue nests topped with whipped cream, strawberries and mint for a deliciously festive dessert.

Close up shot of eton mess, showing the meringue base topped with fresh cream, strawberries, kiwi fruit and mint.

Why We Love This

Using ready made meringue nests, this easy English dessert can be made in minutes, looks spectacular and tastes incredible!

The refreshing combination of crumbly meringue, sweet fruit and whipped cream is the perfect way to finish a meal. It’s also great when you’re craving something sweet after dinner, but don’t feel like the hassle of making or baking something more intricate like homemade pavlova.

It’s easy to adjust and make as much as you need, whether it’s eton mess for two or enough to feed a crowd! Use the more traditional toppings, or tweak the recipe to suit your taste. It’s also a great way to make use of leftover fruit, coulis, sauces or spreads.

Eton mess dessert on a plate, sprinkled with beetroot powder and garnished with fresh mint leaves.

What is Eton Mess? 

It’s a traditional English dessert made with meringue, whipped cream and strawberries.

There are two main visual variations for this recipe. The traditional recipe features a base made from a meringue nest (basically mini pavlovas) topped with fruit and cream. The more creative version features crushed meringue placed in a clear glass with layers of colourful fruit and cream.

No matter which style you choose, both are bound to delight!

What You’ll Need

  • Meringues – You can buy pre-made meringues or make your own mini pavlova nests in all kinds of shapes and sizes. We usually choose the nest or cup shapes because of how well they hold all the whipped cream and fruit toppings.
  • Whipped Cream – We recommend making your own homemade whipped cream for the best flavour – see the recipe card below for our preferred method. We infuse it with caster sugar (aka superfine sugar), vanilla essence, and sometimes fruit puree, coulis or jam for extra flavour – the end result tastes better than ice cream! Of course you can use canned whipped cream or thickened cream (heavy cream for our US readers) if you prefer.
  • Fresh Fruit – Strawberries are the most iconic eton mess topping, but we encourage you to get creative and experiment with your topping combinations. See below for more ideas!
Top down view of two eton mess desserts, with a hand placing a sprig of mint on top of one as a garnish.

Topping Ideas

It’s easy to customise this recipe for a different dessert experience every time! Try different topping combinations and see which style you like best. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Fresh fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, kiwifruit, banana
  • Fruit powder – aka dried and finely ground fruit for a colourful garnish
  • Berry coulis – check out our Vanilla Blanc Manger for an easy blackberry coulis recipe.
  • Fresh cream and/or ice cream
  • Lemon curd
  • Nutella, chocolate sauce or chocolate cream
  • Yoghurt or creme fraiche
  • Chocolate buttons or shaved chocolate
  • Stewed rhubarb / rhubarb compote
  • Fresh mint (tastes delicious and makes for a beautiful garnish)

Wandercook’s Tips

  • We used beetroot powder as a garnish on our mini pavlova to give it an extra hit of colour. It’s just like a natural food colouring, but the best part is it doesn’t change the flavour of the dish!
  • Pair a sweet topping with a sour topping for the perfect flavour balance.
  • Crumble one meringue nest to use as a garnish.

FAQs

Where does eton mess come from?

It’s up to you which origin story you believe for this English dessert recipe… Was it traditionally served at the Eton versus Winchester cricket match which first took place in 1796? Was it popularised by the Eton Tuck Shop (colloquially known as the Sock Shop) as a sweet treat made of strawberries or bananas with cream or ice cream? Or was it the accidental inspiration of an overly excited Labrador that sat on someone’s picnic and squashed a strawberry pavlova?
Personally? We really hope it was that last one!

What’s the difference between eton mess and pavlova?

The main differences are in the origin stories and the presentation. While eton mess is English, pavlova is claimed by both Australia and New Zealand as a dessert created in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. In terms of presentation, we usually find eton mess served as an individual dessert, while pavlova is often made as a huge dessert to feed a crowd. (In truth, we think both recipes are easy to adapt to suit one, two or 20 people!)

Can I make it in advance? Will it keep overnight?

Once you’ve assembled your eton mess, it’s best to serve it straight away. That way your toppings will be fresher and the meringue nests will stay crunchy and crumbly – they can become soft and soggy if left overnight. They’ll still be delicious the next day, just not as crispy.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Homemade Meringues – Make the meringue nests yourself using our pavlova recipe as the base. It’s really easy to do, especially if you have a Kitchenaid, but it does mean it’ll take longer than 5 minutes since you’ll need to bake the meringue.
  • Crushed Meringues – Crush up the meringues and serve in clear glasses for an eye-catching variation. You could create neat layers of fruit, cream and crushed meringue, or mix it all together for an artistic look.
  • Easter Dessert – Top with ice cream and easter eggs of different sizes.
  • Christmas Dessert – Top with strawberries, kiwi fruit, fresh mint and a sprinkling of icing sugar for a red, green and white dessert!

Want more delicious dessert recipes? Try these next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

A mini eton mess pavlova on a plate with fruit, cream and crumbled meringue garnish.

Eton Mess Mini Pavlova

This effortless Eton Mess recipe features crumbly pre-made meringue nests topped with whipped cream, strawberries and mint for a deliciously festive dessert.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 362kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Whipped Cream

For the toppings:

  • 1 handful strawberries sliced or diced
  • 1-2 kiwi fruit peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 handful fresh mint

Optional garnishes:

  • 1 tsp icing sugar or beetroot powder to garnish
  • fruit puree or coulis
  • fruit powder / beetroot powder

Instructions

For the whipped cream:

  • Pour the cream into a medium to large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your Kitchenaid) and add the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Mix on medium to high for 2-3 mins until the cream becomes light and fluffy. Optional: Fold through any fruit puree/coulis (if using) until evenly blended.

To assemble the eton mess:

  • Place your meringues on serving plates or bowls and top with plenty of whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi fruit and fresh mint.
  • Garnish each dessert with crumbled meringue and a sprinkle of icing sugar or beetroot powder.

Recipe Notes

  • Meringues – You can buy pre-made meringues or make your own mini pavlova nests in all kinds of shapes and sizes. We usually choose the nest or cup shapes because of how well they hold all the whipped cream and fruit toppings.  Making the meringue nests yourself is really easy to do, especially if you have a Kitchenaid, but it does mean it’ll take longer than 5 minutes since you’ll need to bake the meringue.
  • Whipped Cream – We recommend making your own homemade whipped cream for the best flavour – see the recipe card below for our preferred method. We infuse it with caster sugar (aka superfine sugar), vanilla essence, and sometimes fruit puree, coulis or jam for extra flavour – the end result tastes better than ice cream! Of course you can use canned whipped cream or thickened cream (heavy cream for our US readers) if you prefer.
  • Fresh Fruit – Strawberries are the most iconic eton mess topping, but we encourage you to get creative and experiment with your topping combinations. See below for more ideas!
  • Crushed Dessert – Crush up the meringues and serve in clear glasses for an eye-catching variation. You could create neat layers of fruit, cream and crushed meringue, or mix it all together for an artistic look.
  • Easter Dessert – Top with ice cream and easter eggs of different sizes.
  • Christmas Dessert – Top with strawberries, kiwi fruit, fresh mint and a sprinkling of icing sugar for a red, green and white dessert!
Additional Topping Ideas
  • Fresh fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, kiwifruit, banana
  • Fruit powder – aka dried and finely ground fruit for a colourful garnish
  • Berry coulis – check out our Vanilla Blanc Manger for an easy blackberry coulis recipe.
  • Fresh cream and/or ice cream
  • Lemon curd
  • Nutella, chocolate sauce or chocolate cream
  • Yoghurt or creme fraiche
  • Chocolate buttons or shaved chocolate
  • Stewed rhubarb / rhubarb compote
  • Fresh mint (tastes delicious and makes for a beautiful garnish)

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1198IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Eton Mess - Mini Pavlova

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Deanna
    24/05/2017 at 9:09 pm

    5 stars
    This sounds so divine!! YUM!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/07/2017 at 12:05 pm

      Who would think something so quick to prepare could end up looking so impressive! ????

  • Reply
    Sarah
    24/05/2017 at 8:33 pm

    5 minutes? Sold! These look beautiful and delicious! Perfect, in my book!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/07/2017 at 12:04 pm

      Yep haha – totally should be illegal shouldn’t it! 😛

  • Reply
    jacquee | i sugar coat it!
    24/05/2017 at 8:23 pm

    I LOVE a good Eton Mess!! It’s our go-to dessert for impromptu guests and get-togethers. Your photos looks scrumptious!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/07/2017 at 12:04 pm

      High five to that! ????

  • Reply
    Carlos At Spoonabilities
    24/05/2017 at 6:54 pm

    5 stars
    This dessert look SO beautiful and yummy!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/07/2017 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks Carlos, hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry
    24/05/2017 at 6:41 pm

    5 stars
    Easy, delicious and such a treat that it’s made in less than 5 mins! Looks scrumptious

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/07/2017 at 12:03 pm

      Yup haha – exactly why we love this one!

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