Blood Orange Eton Mess

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blood orange eton mess recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

Calling all fans of The Great British Baking Show: Have you heard of an Eton mess? It’s a traditional English dessert made with layers and layers of cloud-like crisp meringue and whipped cream. (It’s kind of like a trifle with some extra crunch and pizzazz.)

The dish is traditionally made with strawberries, but you can swap in any kind of fruit (or, ahem, vegetable). Here, recipe developer Erin McDowell upped the ante and added blood orange—and just like that, we have a new favorite dessert that just so happens to be festive for Valentine’s Day. Assemble it in individual cups or bowls (or as a freeform heart shape, if you please), then grab a spoon and don’t look back.


Meringue Cookies

6 large (340g) egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1⅓ cups (265g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sprinkles, for finishing

Blood Orange Curd

4 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter

½ cup (99g) granulated sugar

½ cup (121g) freshly squeezed blood orange juice

2 tablespoons (30g) freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 large (212g) egg yolks

Pinch of fine sea salt


1½ cups (345g) heavy cream

½ cup (99g) granulated sugar

½ vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 blood orange, peeled and segmented

Sprinkles or pearl sugar, for finishing


1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Make the Meringue Cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until white and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then add the vanilla extract and continue to whip to stiff peaks. The meringue should be smooth and glossy.

3. Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. (Use two different sizes or shapes of star tips if you’d like to vary the effects.) Pipe one tray of small (½ inch) cookies and one tray of larger (1 inch) cookies onto the parchment paper, leaving about ½ inch between each cookie. If desired, top some or all of the cookies with sprinkles.

4. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 250°F. Bake until the cookies feel dry to the touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the meringues sit in the oven for 1 hour.

5. Make the Curd: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, blood orange juice, lemon juice, egg yolks and salt; whisk to combine.

6. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain the curd into a medium bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap.

7. Finish: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla bean (or extract) to medium peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

8. To assemble, fill six glasses with layers of whipped cream, then meringue cookies, then curd and blood orange segments. Garnish with pearl sugar or sprinkles.

Note: To assemble as a heart, use the curd to create the shape on a serving platter (at least 12 inches wide): Spoon it into the center, then use the back of the spoon to push it into a heart shape. Place the meringues over the curd, leaving space between, then fill the spaces by piping on pearls of whipped cream. Drizzle or spoon dots of curd all over the heart. Fill in the heart shape with the remaining meringues and whipped cream. Arrange the blood orange segments on top and then garnish with pearl sugar or sprinkles.

Nutrition Facts
  • Meringue Cookies

  • 243 calories

  • 0g fat

  • 59g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 59g sugars

  • Blood Orange Curd

  • 218 calories

  • 15g fat

  • 19g carbs

  • 2g protein

  • 18g sugars

  • Finishing

  • 273 calories

  • 21g fat

  • 21g carbs

  • 1g protein

  • 20g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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erin jeanne mcdowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...