I’ve got a delicious crumbled meringue, whipped cream, cherry-brandy compote and chocolate ganache trifle dessert today. The meringue is crunchy but very delicate, softened by vanilla whipped cream, coated with a blanket of creamy milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate flavors and topped with fresh, juicy cherries cooked in brandy.
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I had actually never heard of an Eton Mess until my buddy Nagi of recipetineats.com recently challenged me to make one for The Spice Train. Nagi, your turn now! ;)
Apparently the dessert is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket match and was invented in one way or another (different sources tell different stories here) at the school. Kudos to whoever it was, definitely a fine job! :)
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1½ pounds dark cherries (if cherries are not in season, you can use canned and drained red tart cherries instead)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped*
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped*
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1½ cup heavy cream
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Whip egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until you get soft peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar, continuing to whip.
- Spoon 8 round meringue nests on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 – 50 minutes until dry and set.
- Turn off the oven, don't open the oven door, and let the meringue nests cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Add cherries, sugar, brandy and lemon juice to a pan and cook on medium heat until the cherries start to break down and the juice thickens. Let cool.
- Bring the cream to a boil in the microwave and pour over the chocolate.
- Mix until you have a smooth ganache. If necessary, heat the mix over a water bath until the chocolate is dissolved.
- Whip all ingredients to stiff peaks.
- Crumble up the meringue nests.
- Fill crushed meringue, whipped cream, chocolate ganache and cherry layers into tall glasses or a large bowl and serve.
Food Photography and Styling: I used prosecco glasses from Crate and Barrel here and I thought they worked really beautifully. The backdrop is a piece of slate that I recently found in our old shed. I thought it belonged to my husband but he had never seen it either so I suppose the previous owners had left it there. So go snoop around your shed or maybe your attic and you may just find some cool props! :) I lit the photo from the side with my strobe.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.