Black Forest Eton Mess

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This delicious black forest Eton mess consists of layers of sweet crumbled meringue, velvety whipped cream, an intense cherry-brandy compote and a smooth chocolate ganache.

black forest eton mess

This Eton mess trifle dessert is the best. 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.

I had actually never heard of an Eton Mess until my buddy Nagi of 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! :)

How to make a black forest Eton mess:

This dessert is not difficult to make but it does take time because the meringue takes a while to bake, so be sure to plan for that.

You start by whipping egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until they get nice and frothy. Then you slowly but steadily whip in granulated sugar. Once you have a glossy meringue with stiff peaks, you spoon round little meringue nests onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them for about 50 minutes until they are set.

Turn the oven off and without opening the oven door, let the meringues cool in the oven for another hour.

While the meringue nests cool you can make the cherry compote. All you need to do for that is cook either fresh cherries or canned and drained red tart cherries with sugar, brandy and lemon juice until the cherries start to break down.

The ganache is a simple mix of finely chopped milk and bittersweet chocolate, melted with hot cream.

The last component is whipped cream flavored with sugar and vanilla extract.

To serve the Eton mess, you crumble up the meringue, fill it into jars, top it with whipped cream, then the ganache and the cherry compote.

Sounds irresistible? It really is, it’s one of my all-time favorite desserts!

More delicious fruit desserts:

black forest eton mess
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Black Forest Eton Mess

The recipe for the meringue nests comes from Taste of Home.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 50 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: black forest eton mess
Servings: 8
Calories: 350kcal


For the meringue layers:

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

For the cherry layers:

  • 1.5 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

For the chocolate ganache layers:

  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

For the whipped cream layers:

  • 1.5 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the meringue layers:

  • 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 until all sugar is incorporated and you have a glossy meringue that holds stiff peaks.
  • 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.

For the cherry layers:

  • 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.

For the chocolate ganache layers:

  • 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.

For the whipped cream layers:

  • Whip all ingredients to stiff peaks.

For the assembly:

  • Crumble up the meringue nests.
  • Fill crushed meringue, whipped cream, chocolate ganache and cherry layers into tall glasses or a large bowl and serve.


*Don't use chocolate morsels; morsels have stabilizers in them that actually prevent them from melting.


Calories: 350kcal

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black forest eton mess


  1. Nagi@RecipeTinEats says:

    Damn you! Why did you have to beat me to the styling challenge – I don’t want to be compared!!

    You know what I love about this? I love your thinking – that you took a big dessert typically served as one big mess and broke it down into small to make something that is typically a beautiful “mess” into something so delicate.

    Bowing to the Food Photography Queen.

    I have so many observations to make about this shot. I just LOVE it. I hope you don’t mind if I share it on FBC FB?

    • Nicole B. says:

      Ha! Yup, I figured a big mess would be too, um messy, so I made it miniature. ;) Please feel free to share anywhere you like! –nic x

    • Nicole B. says:

      That would be cool, wouldn’t it? You could bring some of your grilled sensations, I’d bring an Eton Mess, you could grab some garden veggies and I’d pluck a few limes off your miracle tree. :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      It’s such a great dessert, isn’t it? I can’t believe I didn’t know about it until recently! :) –nic xx

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