Eton Mess recipe with mango, passionfruit and dragonfruit makes a tropical version of the traditional English dessert of broken meringue, fresh strawberries and whipped double cream – and makes use of the end of season mangoes.
My Eton Mess recipe with mango, passionfruit and dragonfruit is simply a tropical take on this classic British dessert that layers crushed meringue with whipped double cream and fresh sweet strawberries. I made it over Christmas with some expensive mangoes from Australia’s tropical Top End, which was all I could find here in Siem Reap at the time – but now we can use Cambodia’s end of season mangoes.
This Eton Mess is my next favourite dessert after a pavlova with mango and passionfruit. Yet, while I will forever associate pavlovas with the scorching Australian summers of my childhood growing up in Sydney, when I’m old and grey I’ll probably connect this Eton Mess with a tropical twist with our years in Siem Reap and me enviously eyeing off the neighbours mangoes and the early monsoon rains.
Eton Mess Recipe with Mango, Passionfruit and Dragonfruit
You see, mango season – my favourite season – is coming to a close here in Cambodia where durian season, which coincides with the first month of monsoon, has just begun. Cambodia’s mango season is in March and April – and then again in October to November, the end of monsoon. April is the hottest month of the year and it’s so sultry and stifling that locals call April the Cambodian summer.
Like the period we call ‘the build-up’ in Australia’s tropical north, April is also marked by ominous slate-grey clouds and (usually) dry lightening storms, although this year we had a fair bit of a rain. Our Cambodian friends are happy. They say the early season downpours mean it’s going to be a good monsoon and fertile farming season.
Yet nobody has told the mango trees on our street that their time here is over for now. They’re still dripping with plenty of firm green fruit and I’ve got my eyes on them now that the neighbours have lost interest in wrangling the mangoes and have drawn their attention to durian.
I love that the Eton Mess is quite an old dessert with a summery history. The first mention of an Eton Mess with strawberries dates to an 1893 garden party attended by Queen Victoria, and it’s said to have originated from Eton College where it was served at their annual cricket match against the students of rival Harrow School.
No such posh backstory for this tropical Eton Mess recipe I’m sorry to say. It was first very messily put together in our steamy Siem Reap kitchen late one December evening following an afternoon making, shooting and testing (!) Christmas season cocktail recipes. Well, you couldn’t expect me to decorate a pavlova after a Champagne cocktail, watermelon mint cooler, Cuban mojito, pina colada, and a spiced negroni, could you?
Notes on this Eton Mess Recipe with Mango, Passionfruit and Dragonfruit
Terence made the meringue in our Eton Mess recipe, below, and I much prefer a fresh homemade meringue that has those layers of textures – crispy, crunchy, ever so slightly chewy and soft in the centre. For me, the shop-bought meringues never have enough dimension to them and are all crunch.
But, of course, we’re all busy and readymade meringues are a great solution if you don’t have time to make your own and you’re making these for a lovely lunch or dinner party. That means no baking and you can have these prepared in 15-20 minutes depending upon whether you throw them together or fiddle around as I tend to do.
I’ve gone with mango and passionfruit as I just love that combo and I love the fresh juices too, which you can drizzle on at the last second before serving – no earlier, as they’ll go soggy.
I chose dragonfruit because they’re in season here at the same time as mangoes. But I have a confession: I thought I was buying pink dragonfruit – which sometimes get called purple dragonfruit – and the sign said ‘pink dragonfruit’, but they turned out to be white dragonfruit. I much prefer the pink fruit, not only for the bold colour, but also because they’re so much sweeter.
The white dragonfruit are a bit bland, but they work in my tropical Eton Mess recipe, because the mango and meringue are both so sweet and the passionfruit is tangy, so the dragonfruit provides a nice contrast.
But, let’s face it, you can really replace these tropical fruits with any fruit, just use whatever is fresh and in season for maximum flavour.
Eton Mess Recipe with Mango Passionfruit and Dragonfruit
- 140 gm egg whites
- 140 gm caster sugar
- 140 gm icing sugar put through a sieve
- 3 tsp corn flour
The Rest of the Mess
- 250 ml / 1 cup thickened cream
- 750 gm sour cream / crème fraîche
- 75 gm pure icing sugar sieved
- 2 mangoes chopped into small chunks
- 1 dragonfruit white or pink, chopped into small chunks
- 4 passionfruits pulp with seeds and all
- Fresh mint sprigs for garnishing
- To make meringues, preheat oven to 100C.
- Using an electric hand whisk or electric mixer, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt for around 3 minutes or so until soft peaks form.
- While continuing to whisk for another 3 minutes or so, gradually add caster sugar until meringue is thick and glossy.
- Fold the icing sugar and corn flour into meringue mix until completely combined.
- Line baking trays with baking paper and, using a large serving spoon, scoop up the meringue mix and spoon on to a tray, forming each scoop into a medium sized mound.
- Bake for 1 hour or so, until firm and crunchy on the outside but try not to let the meringues brown.
- Let the meringues cool completely. If not using immediately, store the meringues in an airtight container until you need them.
The Rest of the Mess
- Using your electric hand whisk or mixer, whip the thickened cream, sour cream/crème fraîche and rest of the icing sugar for around 3 minutes until soft peaks form.
- Roughly break your meringue into chunks, taking care not to crush it completely; save any crumbs.
- In large glasses, start layering the pieces of meringue, cream and fruit until you fill the glasses.
- Once you reach the top of the glass, spoon on some cream, any leftover fruit pulp, allowing it to drizzle through, and the rest of the meringue crumbs.
- Garnish each glass with some fresh mint sprigs.
- Serve immediately.
More Eton Mess Recipes and Tips for Making Meringue
Great British Puddings: 140 Sweet, Sticky, Yummy, Classic Recipes by the Pudding Club of Great Britain – includes a recipe for a Blackberry Eton Mess and lots of other recipes for wonderful British desserts, including a must-make Sticky toffee pudding.
Meringue by Linda Jackson & Jennifer Evans Gardner – there’s an Eton Mess with Raspberry Chambord recipe in here, plus a curious admission of astonishment that the British invented meringue, and loads of other great advice for making the perfect meringue.
Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh – no Eton Mess with an Ottolenghi twist in here, unfortunately, but plenty of superb meringue recipes in this best-selling award-winning dessert cookbook.