Eton Mess Cheesecake

When it comes to desserts I have one huge weakness: Cheesecake. If I see it on a menu I pretty much have to order a slice, whether I want it or not. There are times when the flavour combinations are almost irrelevant – the desire really is that strong. You can only imagine how much restraint is needed if I’m in the USA and stumble across an outlet of The Cheesecake Factory!!!

I’ve been trying to think about what part of a cheesecake it is that I like the most. But I don’t think it’s any one bit in isolation. Each part has its own charms and when they come together in concert the magic happens. Yes, the sweet, buttery biscuit base is borderline addictive but almost too rich on its own. You need that slightly sour flavour of the cream cheese to bring it back into check. In reverse, whilst I love the cream cheese filling I find that on its own it’s far too rich yet not quite sweet enough. It needs the sweetness, and the texture, of the base to work. You get what I mean, right?

When I make Cheesecake at home I (almost) always use a No Bake recipe. I should be clear I have no issues with baked cheesecakes and will gladly devour one if its put in front of me. I just feel that involving eggs and water baths is something that I can do without. I’m perfectly happy with the soft, mousse-like texture of whipped cream and soft cheese on their own. Plus, anything that removes the risk of a scrambled egg cheesecake is welcome in my kitchen!

With that in mind, the recipe for this Eton Mess Cheesecake is relatively simple. Yes, there are a few steps, but not complicated processes. If you’ve not had Eton Mess before then you frankly haven’t lived. It’s a jumbled up mixture of meringue, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Indeed, it’s a great way to use up any ripe strawberries you have sitting in the fridge.

Combining those flavours in a cheesecake almost feels obvious. I don’t know why I’ve not seen it, or done it, before. The base is made from shortcake biscuits, rather than the more traditional digestives. I wanted to do this as a nod to a strawberry shortcake dessert. It just felt right. The filling is a mixture of full-fat cream cheese, whipped double cream and white chocolate. The latter adding both sweetness and helping the cheesecake to set. I went a little fancy and created a “hidden” strawberry flavoured filling in the middle – using different sized cake tins to good effect. You could just create two layers if time or equipment isn’t on your side.

Whilst that was setting in the fridge I whipped up a batch of meringues to go on the top. Don’t be put off by this step – meringue is neither complicated nor slow to make. But if you’d rather use pre-made meringue to decorate your cheesecake then who am I to argue? Just remember to pop the meringues on top at the last minute, otherwise they’ll go soft and lose all their crunch. You have been warned…



Eton Mess Cheesecake

All of the joys of summer on a plate. This Eton Mess Cheesecake is a lot neater than its namesake dessert, but doesn’t lose any of its charm. A rich, creamy filling topped with crisp meringue and fragrant strawberries makes for the perfect dessert on a warm sunny day.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Chilling Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Desserts, Sweets
Servings: 12
Calories: 529kcal

Ingredients

for the Base

  • 200 g Shortcake Biscuits
  • 60 g Unsalted Butter melted

for the Strawberry Cheesecake Filling

  • 75 g White Chocolate
  • 100 g Full-fat Cream Cheese
  • 20 g Icing Sugar
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Paste
  • tsp Freeze-Dried Strawberry Powder see note
  • 100 ml Double Cream

for the Vanilla Cheesecake Filling

  • 125 g White Chocolate
  • 250 g Full-fat Cream Cheese
  • 200 ml Double Cream
  • 20 g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Paste

For the Meringue

  • 2 large Egg Whites
  • 115 g Caster Sugar

To Decorate

  • 150 ml Double Cream
  • 20 g Icing Sugar
  • Fresh Strawberries hulled and sliced

Instructions

Make the Base

  • Line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Break the shortbread biscuits into chunks, then put them into a food processor. Blitz until they’ve broken down into small crumbs. Add in the melted butter then blitz again until it starts to form something resembling wet sand.
  • Tip the mixture into the cake tin then press it down to cover the base with a uniform layer, rising slightly towards the edges. Store in the fridge whilst you’re doing the other steps.

Make the Strawberry Filling

  • Break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of gently simmering water. Don’t overwork it or stir it more than needed as this could affect its texture. Once melted, put to one side to slightly cool.
  • Meanwhile put the cream cheese into a large bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until it has softened. Sift in the icing sugar and add the vanilla, before mixing until fully combined. Pour in the melted chocolate and then stir through. Finally, add the strawberry powder and beat until thoroughly mixed.
  • In a separate bowl whip the cream until it’s forming soft peaks. Add it carefully to the cream cheese mixture and fold through until well mixed.
  • Line the sides of a smaller 12cm loose bottom tin with some non-stick baking paper and remove the base. Place this into the centre of the 20cm tin containing the chilled biscuit base, leaving a gap all the way around the edge. Fill this tin with the strawberry filling then put into the fridge to set for an hour.

Make the Vanilla Filling

  • Break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of gently simmering water. Don’t overwork it or stir it more than needed as this could affect its texture. Once melted, put to one side to slightly cool.
  • Meanwhile put the cream cheese into a large bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until it has softened. Sift in the icing sugar, then add the lemon juice and vanilla paste and mix until well combined. Pour in the cooled chocolate and beat until fully incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl whip the cream until it’s forming soft peaks. Add it carefully to the cream cheese mixture and fold through.
  • Remove the cake tin and baking paper from around the strawberry filling. Spoon the vanilla filling carefully around the edge filling the gaps, press down carefully using a palette knife. There should be enough vanilla filling to bring this up and over the top of the strawberry filling completely hiding it.
  • Return to the fridge and chill overnight.

Make the Meringue

  • Pre-heat oven to 100°C
  • Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper and put to one side.
  • Put the egg whites into a large, very clean bowl. It’s important that the bowl is dry and free of any grease as this will affect the quality of the meringue. Beat with an electric whisk on a medium-high setting until the egg whites are light and fluffy. You want them to form soft peaks as you lift the whisk out of the mixture.
  • Continue whisking at a high speed and add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time. When it’s all incorporated you should have a light, glossy mixture which forms a stiff peak.
  • Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle. Pipe rosettes of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. You can be as fancy or as plain as you like with these. If you don’t have a piping bag then spoon the meringue onto the baking sheets and create whatever shapes you like.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 1¼ to ½ hours until a pale caramel colour on the outside and crisp to touch. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues in the oven as it cools – this will reduce the risk of them cracking.

Decorate the Cheesecake

  • Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. I often find it easier to leave it on the base from the tin, but if you’re confident removing it first then do that.
  • Pour the double cream into a bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Whisk until light and fluffy, then spoon or pipe onto the top of the cheesecake.
  • Decorate the top with the meringue and fresh strawberries before serving.

Notes

  • Freeze-dried Strawberry Powder can easily be found online or in larger supermarkets (especially Waitrose, if you have one nearby). You can also buy whole freeze-dried strawberries and crush these instead if you’d rather.
  • If you don’t have a smaller tin then you could either use a large cooking ring instead, or spread this filling as a thin layer over the top of the biscuit base instead.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Estimated Values per Serving
Energy2,213kJ
529kcal
Fat39g
of which Saturates26g
Carbohydrates36g
of which Sugars26g
Fibre0g
Protein5g
Sodium168mg
Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.

Scott Silverthorn

Hi, I’m Scott. I love cooking food and I love eating it - both useful credentials for writing a food blog! I get a lot of joy from sharing my passion with my friends and family, so here's hoping you enjoy it too.

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