Whaaaaaa, you say? I'll explain. First, a little backstory: one of my favorite desserts in NYC is the Blackberry Eton Mess Fool at Peels. I've had a few birthday dinners there; the food is always tasty, the atmosphere lively but not raucous, and the cocktails are delicious. Dessert is always a tough decision, but since I've most often been there during warmer months, I can never pass up the Blackberry Eton Mess Fool. I got to thinking about it the other day and was itching to try my hand at recreating a dairy-free version.
First order of business was to find out if an 'Eton Mess Fool' was actually a thing. Turns out the Peels peeps mashed together two very classic English desserts: an Eton mess and a fool. The Eton mess was allegedly traditionally served at the school's cricket match against Harrow School, and has been so named since the 19th century. A fool is another traditional English dessert made of crushed pureéd fruit, whipped cream and sugar, apparently dating back to the 17th century. It's suggested by some that the name comes from the French word for 'to crush', fouler.
Blackberry & Blueberry Eton Mess Recipe
-A few store-bought meringues, crumbled up (this is totally cheating, but I didn't have the heart to attempt meringues and fail, thereby depriving myself of my delicious treat). I like this brand that uses cage-free egg whites. In terms of crumbling, I like to have a mix of bigger and smaller crunchy pieces as well as some dust - this is totally your call.
-Blackberries & blueberries (I prefer organic since berries tend to have lots of pesticide residue)
-1 can of full fat coconut milk for making whipped coconut cream (This brand uses BPA-free cans and is organic)
-Optional: maple syrup and bourbon vanilla to sweeten/flavor the coconut cream
How to make it:
Put can of coconut milk into the fridge for several hours. The goal is to get all of the fat to separate from the liquid. It will float to the top of the can and harden. While you're waiting, at some point wash the berries and set them aside. You can also put your serving container in freezer to chill, so the whipped coconut cream doesn't melt as fast. After 3-6 hours (depending on your freezer), open the can of coconut milk and scoop the separated cream off the top. It will be solid and white - make sure to leave the liquidy stuff (basically now coconut water) in the can. You can drink it or save it to use in another recipe.
I've tried a few methods for whipping the cream. This time, I tried shaking it up in a mason jar as described on this blog to make it fluffy, but I found it was still slightly too liquidy (but no less delicious) for my liking. I think the best way is to use a food processor; it's a lot easier on your hands/arms, and gets all of the hard pieces super blended. You can even chill the blade if you want to get fancy. Dump the scooped-out cream into the processor and simply process it until it's whipped. Before you whip it, you can add maple syrup for sweetness or vanilla for flavor, but I think this recipe is sweet enough as is, and I love the flavor of coconut cream. Starting at the bottom of your mason jar (or other container), layer cream, berries and crumbles until you hit the top.
Personally, I like to mash everything together until it really does look like a mess. The best bites are the ones that have all the good stuff: tart berries, crunchy meringue bits, and coconut cream.