This Cherry Mess is a no fuss dessert featuring red wine soaked cherries mixed with amaretto laced whipping cream. Add crispy meringues, and crunchy sweet almonds for great textural effect.
A Word About David Lebovitz
Anything David Lebovitz recipe that I have ever made has been AMAZING! The recipes are written clearly, easy to follow and produce some very delicious results. It goes without saying but I am a huge fan. It was such an honour to meet him in San Francisco…he even gave us a great restaurant recommendation for the area! When he posted this recipe for Cherry Mess, I just had to make it for my son on his 19th birthday.
A Very Cherry Mess
For once, I stuck to the recipe and I could hardly contain my excitement as I followed each step. I got so excited, that I forgot to add the candied almonds on each layer. They served their purpose just as well being stationed there at the top. The flavour of the cherries with just a splash of red wine is crazy delicious! The only change I would make to this recipe is to start the meringues first as they take the longest to cook and also need to cool.
What Is An Eton Mess?
This Cherry Mess recipe is a spin on an English dessert called Eton Mess. Eton Mess is believed to have originated at Eton College somewhere around the late 1800’s. It traditionally consisted of strawberries or bananas mixed with whipped cream or ice cream but evolved when broken meringues were added. There really is no rhyme or reason to a Mess…hence the name!
Assembling the Cherry Mess
The great thing about this dessert is that it has no structure. It’s almost as if you had taken a pavlova and mashed it all together in a bowl. Just throw the ingredients in the bowl willy nilly. In addition, when you’re dropping the meringues on the baking sheet, there’s no need to pipe them or make them look fancy because they’re about to be crushed. Your Cherry Mess should be eaten the day of assembling, but if you want to make it ahead of time, it might be a good idea to stabilize the whipped cream like I did here.
I’m glad new adult has lived his 19 years the way he has and I’m very proud to be his mum. He has a ‘can do’ and ‘ready to take on the world attitude’ that will surely take him far. Not too far from home I hope, then who will I cook for?
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Cherry Delicious Recipe From Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen
Amaretto Almond Cherry Mess
A Very Cherry Mess - By David Lebovitz
FOR THE CHERRY COMPOTE
- 1 pound fresh cherries stemmed and pitted
- 1/4 cup sugar
a few drops of almond extract
optional red wine
FOR THE CANDIED ALMONDS
- 1 cup almonds sliced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
pinch of salt
FOR THE MERINGUES
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 tsp amaretto
- FOR THE CHERRY COMPOTEPut the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar and add a pour of red wine, just enough to make a film on the bottom of the pot. (You can also use water, adding just a tablespoon.) Heat the cherries over medium heat, covered, checking and stirring them frequently until they are completely cooked through and softened, about 10 minutes. (As they cook, they can foam up and spill over – so be sure to keep a close eye on them.) Transfer the cherries to a bowl and set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use.
FOR THE CANDIED ALMONDSPreheat the oven to 325ºF (160º C.) Spray or lightly coat a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Heat the water and sugar in a skillet until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds and a pinch of salt, until well coated.Scrape the almonds onto the baking sheet, break up any large clumps, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking so they toast evenly. Remove from oven when golden brown and crisp, and let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.FOR THE MERINGUES Reduce the heat of the oven to 225ºF (110ºC.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a clean, dry bowl, or with a stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed with a pinch of salt until they start to hold their shape. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, while continuing to whip, until it’s all incorporated and the meringue is stiff and shiny. Whip in the almond extract.Divide the meringue into 6 mounds on the baking sheet, then flatten each one into a disk with a spatula or the back of a spoon. (Dipping the utensil in water, then shaking off the excess, will help keep the meringue from sticking.)Bake the meringues for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven and let the meringues continue to remain in the oven with the door closed, to dry out further, until they are cool.FOR THE WHIPPED CREAMFor the whipped cream and assemblyIn a chilled bowl, whip the cream until it holds its shape when the lift the whisk. Whip in the sugar and the amaretto liqueur until the whipped cream is thickened, but not too stiff.TO ASSEMBLE: To assemble the desserts, choose four wine glasses or other vessels. Spoon some of the cherries in the bottom of each glass with a little bit of the juices. Crumble 3 or 4 of the meringues into rough 1-inch (3cm) pieces and fold them into the whipped cream – the cream should be pretty-well riddled with meringue pieces. Spoon some of that mixture over the cherries in the glasses and add a bit of candied almonds over the cream.Continue to layer each glass with more cherries, a bit of their syrup, more cream with crumbled meringues in it, and a few candied almonds, however you wish, ending with a few cherries and some of their syrup on top. Sprinkle each mess with a scattering of candied almonds and serve.Variations: If you’re not a fan of almond flavoring, substitute vanilla extract for the amaretti liqueur in the whipped cream, to taste. For those fortunate to have access to fresh sour cherries, replace some of the sweet cherries in the compote with pitted sour cherries. Similarly, you can add a handful of dried sour cherries to the fresh (sweet) cherries, adding them toward the end of cooking.