Eton mess, a dessert of crushed baked meringue, whipped cream, and berries, is said to have originated at England’s Eton College. For this version, we use store-bought meringue cookies, toast them under the broiler, and layer them with whipped cream studded with cherries and chopped chocolate. Frozen cherries make this dessert a breeze to put together; we chop then soften the fruit by microwaving the pieces with sugar and sherry vinegar, which balances the sweetness of the meringues.
1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, mix the cherries, sugar and vinegar. Microwave for 5 minutes, then strain, reserving the liquid; cool completely.
2. Heat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches from the element. Spread the meringues on a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet and broil until browned, 30 to 60 seconds.
3. In a medium bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the reserved cherry liquid and two-thirds of the chocolate, then beat to stiff peaks.
4. Spread half the meringues and half the cherries in a serving bowl. Top with the whipped cream, then the remaining cherries, meringues and chocolate.
© 2020 by Christopher Kimball. Excerpted from Milk Street: Cookish by permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY.
Images © Connie Miller.