Eton Mess Cheesecake; a creamy vanilla cheesecake, topped with whipped cream, strawberries, meringue, and homemade strawberry sauce. This delicious take on a summer classic is bound to be a crowd pleaser!
It seems there is a lot of talk online at the moment about the end of summer. Of how the nights are drawing in, the days are getting shorter, and the winter fashions are hitting the shops. Shops are bringing in their back-to-school ranges, the sight of which still makes me feel a little sad. Does anyone else feel like its too soon for all this? Like summer isn’t over yet? Like you’re not yet ready for the thought of autumn, and winter coats, and the count down to Christmas?
For me, August isn’t the end of summer, it is its height. It’s the month I remember from school summer holidays as being the really hot one. The month where we’d go on day trips to farms and gardens in shorts and caps, and return to the car to find it unbearably hot, seat fabric sticking to bare skin, seat belt buckles burning naked arms. August was the long glorious month without any school; its entire length was for days in the garden, for sprinklers and paddling pools. A month where the scraped playground knees healed, only to be replaced by bruises from my brother’s improvised garden cane swords, and grass-burned torsos. The latter achieved by sliding too fast down the plastic sheeting water slide, aided by an over generous squeeze of fairy liquid.
No, I’m not yet ready for the thought of winter jumpers and hearty stews. Summer still has more to offer. The evenings may not be as long as they were earlier in the summer, but there is a special magic about the golden glow of a late summer evening. The last of the summer seasonal crop isn’t yet over, there is still potential from the summer table.
This is one such summer recipe. Although we are perhaps past the very peak of the strawberry season, this Eton Mess Cheesecake is a quintessentially summer time recipe. A recipe for all those who aren’t ready to pack away the barbeque, who are still looking forward to their summer holidays, and those who have no intention of ending the ritual of the weekend jug of Pimms for at least another month. If you’re still hoping to squeeze in a few more ice cream cones, an August bank holiday weekend by the sea, and plan to wear your flip flops as long as you possibly can; this is the recipe for you.
The cheesecake is impressive, but simple and quick to make. It’s so light, creamy and smooth, its bound to be real crowd pleaser. The base is made from digestive biscuits and Demerara sugar. This sugar gives a beautiful sugary crunch. The cheesecake filling is made with cream cheese, and lightly whipped double cream. Lightly flavoured with icing sugar, and vanilla extract, it’s a wonderful base to complete the Eton Mess flavours. With no baking required, it comes together in minutes. If you’re making it for a party you could make the vanilla cheesecake in advance, and finish it with the strawberries and meringue just before serving.
The cheesecake is topped with whipped cream, meringue, fresh strawberries, and a deliciously fresh strawberry sauce that only needs 3 ingredients; strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
The meringues I used were left over from a batch of mini piped meringues my Mum made. Use a recipe like this one, and pipe the meringue using a star or a round tip onto your baking tray. If you’d rather though, you can buy your meringue ready made. About 2 or 3 meringue nests will be the right amount to top the cheesecake.
Absolutely perfect eaten outside in the glow of a late summer evening, with a little extra cream, and a crisp glass of wine.
- The eton mess cheesecake is best eaten on the day that is made. The sugars in the meringue can weep when they come into contact with the moisture from the cream and the strawberries and will become soggy over time. If you want to make in advance, make the cheesecake base, and the sauce, then decorate with the cream, strawberries and meringue just before serving.
- The strawberry sauce is made by blending together strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor. It is then put on the heat to reduce to the desired consistency, and to dissolve the sugar. Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the strawberries and put them in a pan with the other ingredients and a splash of water. Gently heat and allow the strawberries to break down.
- 200g digestive biscuits
- 100g Demerara sugar
- 100g butter, melted
- 500g full fat cream cheese
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 200ml double cream, lightly whipped
- ------ for the strawberry sauce
- 150g strawberries
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ------ to decorate
- 250ml double cream, whipped
- 200 g strawberries
- Meringue, about 8 homemade mini meringues, or ⅔ ready-made meringue nests
- Grease and line a 23cm spring-form cake tin.
- In a food processor, pulse the biscuits until they form small crumbs. Add the Demerara sugar and pulse until evenly combined. With the mixer still running, pour in the melted butter.
- Spread the biscuit mixture evenly in the bottom of the tin, and press down with the back of a spoon until you have a firm, even layer. Put in the fridge and chill until set.
- To make the cheesecake filling, lightly whip together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and evenly combined. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream through the cheesecake mixture, taking care not to knock out too much of the air.
- Pour the mixture onto the prepared base and carefully spread out. Return to the fridge and chill for about 2 hours until completely set.
- Meanwhile, make your strawberry sauce. In a food processor, blend together 150g strawberries with the caster sugar and lemon juice. Once pureed, pass through a sieve into a small saucepan. Gently heat the sauce, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Leave to cool completely.
- Once the cheesecake has set, carefully remove it from the tin, and transfer it onto the plate you plan to decorate it on. If you are removing it from the tin base, take care to support the base of the cheesecake, as it will crack and collapse. I find it best to have an extra pair of hands for help. Whip the remaining 250ml double cream into stiff peaks, then pipe all over the cheesecake. Add meringue in large pieces, reserving a little to crush. Chop the strawberries into a variety of sizes and add to the top. Finally, sprinkle over the crushed meringue, and drizzle over the chilled strawberry sauce.
- Store in the fridge until serving, best eaten on the day of making. If you want to make in advance, please see note above.