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Black Forest Eton Mess

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1-1/3 cups pitted cherries, cut in half
2 tablespoons cherry jam
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
25 meringue cookies, crumbled
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce

Black Forest Eton Mess

Black Forest Eton Mess is a spectacular twist on the classic recipe using sweet cherries and chocolate fudge sauce.

  • Serves 4
  • Easy

About This Recipe

I have always loved cherries. That’s why I developed this recipe for Black Forest Eton Mess. I wrote about this wonderful stone fruit years ago:

Every summer, there are three things I treasure. One is seeing my gardens bloom and thrive as bees hum among the flowers and our fountains gurgle. The second is the lazy tempo and the feeling that warm weather can go on forever. And the third is Bing cherries.

This has been an especially good season for Bing cherries. The sweet and tart fruits are deep, dark, juicy, plump, and firm; perfect for eating out of hand or including in as many recipes as possible.

Cherries always remind me of my first cat, Muffin. Whenever I would sit down with a bowl of cherries, to pit them for cooking or eat them out of hand, she would politely request one, then walk triumphantly around the house, holding a cherry by the stem. She never tried to eat them; just enjoyed the feeling of power, I believe.

I also fondly recall an excellent canoe trip my husband and I took down Minneapolis’ famous Minnehaha Creek one summer. I had pitted a couple of pounds of cherries and we snacked on them as we floated downstream, letting the juice run down our chins and reveling in the bucolic scenery.

And during a trip to Door County in Wisconsin one year, we ate cherries in every conceivable form; cherry juice, chicken glazed with cherry chutney, chocolate covered cherries, and an incredible cherry jam that we finished at home on toasted wild rice bread in about 30 minutes.

The only problem with cherries is that they are a pain to pit. However, for just one bite of this fabulous dessert, I will pit 1-1/2 million cherries. I don’t care how long it takes.

I had a brainstorm to use cherries instead of the typical strawberries in the English dessert Eton Mess because, well, they’re wonderful. You have heard of Eton Mess, of course – that sublime combination of whipped cream, meringue cookies, and strawberries? This version makes the original  look like dust from the Sahara. In addition to ripe juicy cherries, whipped cream, and meringue cookies, I have added rich and smooth hot fudge sauce. Cherries and chocolate are the two main ingredients in Black Forest Cake: therefore, Black Forest Eton Mess.

I am going to try to figure out how to use this combination in every dessert recipe I can think of. I have made one – Eton Mess is a great filling for cute little tartlets. Stay tuned!

Once you get past the cherry pitting part, this recipe is a breeze. Layer the luscious ingredients in your prettiest goblets.

And enjoy the praise.

Why this recipe for Black Forest Eton Mess works:

  • Meringues, while they are crisp and dry, easily absorb liquid from the whipped cream. They soften over time and the whipped cream becomes firmer.
  • You can make this recipe with any fresh fruit. Try peaches, strawberries, or raspberries.

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Pit the cherries. You can use a cherry pitter, but I don't like how the pitters punch a hole in the cherry. I just cut them in half, peel away the pit, and remove the stem.


When the cherries are pitted, gently combine them with the jam and set aside.


Now combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat until soft peaks form.


Fold the crumbled meringue cookies into the cream.


Now assemble the parfaits. Put a layer of cream mixture on the bottom of each glass. Top with some of the cherry mixture and a few spoonfuls of the hot fudge. Keep going until the glasses are full.


You can eat these right away - the meringues will still be crunchy, which makes a lovely contrast. Or you can cover them and chill for a few hours, up to 24 hours. The meringues will have softened in the cream, and the cream will be a lovely texture because the meringues have absorbed some of the moisture. They're fabulous either way.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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