Simple Red White and Blue Dessert

Crushed meringue cookies, whip cream and red and blue berries are layered in clear glass jars for a simple and delicious patriotic summer dessert that tastes as good as it looks!

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Just in time for Memorial Day is a simple dessert that is just so yummy! I've been making this all week and the family loves it!

Red White and Blue Dessert

Whip cream, crispy meringue cookies and berries are combined for a burst of flavor in this easy and light dessert that won't sit heavy on the tummy after a big BBQ meal!

Everyone's grilling out today and the last thing you want is a heavy dessert after you've been gnoshing all day! This light dessert can be layered in clear glasses like a parfait or served in bowls. Either way it is tasty, easy to put together and the perfect light and sweet ending to any meal.

When we were in North Carolina recently, my in-laws gave me several small glass jars that are so perfect for a patriotic dessert! Anyone remember chipped beef, sold in glass jars with stars along the rim? My m-i-l used to make an appetizer with the beef, and has saved the jars over the years. I was only too happy to bring them home and I knew this layered dessert would be a great way to repurpose them for this pretty patriotic dessert!

Desserts in jars

Serving dessert in jars that don't require a lot of fuss is great for summer celebrations, BBQs and buffet style tables. Guests can grab a jar whenever they're ready for something sweet.

Patriotic dessert table

I set a simple patriotic table with blue and white polka dot napkins, faux red geraniums and a couple of the Primitive Scrap Flags that I recently made. It doesn't have to elaborate to be beautiful! And you really don't need many elements to add to the Americana theme...a little red and blue goes a long way. I'm sure you have items you can repurpose for a patriotic tablescape! These blue and white star napkins are on my wishlist!

But let's get to the recipe for this tasty and simple patriotic dessert! It actually has a name but I'll bet you've never heard of it! Eton Mess is the name of this dessert combining juicy berries, whip cream and meringue.

What is Eton Mess?

Eton Mess is a dessert courtesy of our English friends across the pond. It's been around since at least the late 1800's. Many believe it originated at Eton College and was the dessert served at the annual cricket match.

I love hearing about the history of food! I had never heard of it but saw an image of a layered dessert on Pinterest, and it turned out to be Eton Mess.

Recipe Ingredients

Like I mentioned, this is a very easy dessert and there are three components:
  • fresh, juicy berries
  • lightly sweetened whip cream
  • crushed vanilla meringue cookies


You can use any variety of berries that you like, whatever is in season and a good price at the grocery store!

For my patriotic layered dessert, I diced fresh strawberries as well as blueberries and blackberries. I kept the blue and red berries in separate bowls, and added about a tablespoon of granulated sugar to each bowl, stirring to encourage the berries to release their juices.

Whip cream

Make your own freshly whipped cream for this dessert, it really does make a difference!

Some tips to get lightly sweetened and fluffy whip cream:

  1. Make sure the whip cream, your mixer and beaters are cold
  2. Add 1 tbs powdered sugar to each 1 cup of cream before beating; this not only lightly sweetens the cream but it ensures the whipped cream will retain its stability for a little longer
  3. Don't overbeat the cream, just until it's fluffy and has soft peaks
  4. Cover freshly whipped cream and refrigerate until ready to assemble dessert

Vanilla meringues

Meringue cookies are simply egg whites beaten with sugar and a little vanilla, piped onto a parchment-lined baking tray and then baked for about an hour at a low temp. They are easy to make but take awhile as the baked meringues need to rest in the oven while it cools so they'll be crispy. I made Chocolate Chip Meringue Kisses and the recipe is the same, but for this recipe you add vanilla, omit the chocolate chips.

Some tips for making meringue cookies:
  1. When you separate the egg whites from the yolks, you must be careful not to get a speck of egg yolk or the meringue won't rise properly
  2. It's best not to make them on a humid day
  3. Smaller cookies will dry faster than larger ones
  4. You'll need several hours for these cookies to dry, so it might be easier to buy them premade
I bought Vanilla Meringue Cookies from Trader Joe's, which you can also buy from Amazon if you don't have a TJ's in your area. This was the simplest route for me, as our humidity has been climbing. I haven't look at other grocery stores, but I'm sure they sell them too!

The store-bought meringues stay crunchy so you can make this recipe more than once! For the layered dessert, you'll want to place several meringues in a plastic bag and crush them (I used a rolling pin), being careful to leave some larger pieces.

Assembling the dessert

You can layer the dessert anyway you want. I chose to do a layer of whip cream, meringue, then berries, repeating this until my jars were full. I added a few more cookie pieces and berries to the top. If you want softer cookies you can mix some of the meringue pieces in with the whip cream and they'll become more marshmallow-y.

It's best to assemble the jars just before serving. This is one dessert you don't want to leave out in the hot sun or you'll definitely have a big mess on your hands (hmm, maybe that's where the "mess" part of Eton mess came from!)

Mmmm, just seeing these pictures makes me want to make more of this dessert! It would be a healthy-ish breakfast, right? There's berries after all 😋

I hope this easy summer dessert gets you excited too! It's easy, inexpensive and the perfect ending to any meal.

Come back and let me know how much you enjoyed it!

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You might also enjoy these summer dessert with berries:

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