Cherry Eton Mess

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Cherry Eton Mess

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Crumbled vanilla meringue, stewed and puréed cherries folded into whipped cream and served with grated dark chocolate – simply divine.

Ingredients

  • For the meringue:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • For the cherries:
  • 60ml water
  • 2 tbsp kirsch liqueur
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Reserved vanilla pod
  • 500g fresh cherries, rinsed and pitted
  • For assembly:
  • 500ml double cream
  • 25g good quality dark chocolate, grated

Instructions

  1. For the meringue:
  2. Preheat oven to 140°C/275°F/gas 1 and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk egg whites on medium speed in a large grease free bowl until frothy. Still whisking, slowly add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Increase speed to high, add vanilla seeds, and whisk until meringue is smooth and glossy and all the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Drop 8 mounds of meringue on to prepared baking trays and flatten the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off oven and leave meringues to dry out with oven door closed until oven is completely cold, ideally overnight.
  5. For the cherries:
  6. Combine the water, kirsch, sugar and vanilla pod in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then add cherries and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue to boil liquid until reduced by half. Remove from heat and leave both cherries and syrup to cool completely. Discard vanilla pod once cool.
  7. To assemble dessert:
  8. Purée half of the cherries with the syrup. Set aside.
  9. In a large bowl, lightly beat double cream with a whisk or electric mixer until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.
  10. In a large bowl, crumble half of the meringue, then top with half of the cream, cherries and purée. Layer with the remaining broken meringue, cream, cherries and purée then use a large spoon to lightly fold the mixture about 5 times, just enough to mix the cream into the ingredients but still maintain streaks of white.
  11. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of grated dark chocolate. Components can be prepared ahead of time, but dessert should be assembled just before serving so that the meringue remains crisp.
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