Drunk in Love

"I've been drinking, I've been drinking... I get filthy when that liquor get into me"...that's exactly what the cherries in this dessert are singing right now.  Introducing the "Drunk in Love" dessert: a Mexican chocolate meringue cookie topped with whipped cream and bourbon soaked cherries.  Think of this as a mini pavlova, but instead of a heaping pile of meringue, we have opted for a flatter, cookie-like version.  The spices in the cookie add a surprising kick that pairs well with both the bourbon and the cherries.  On a time crunch?  the cookie and the cherries can be prepared the day before if needed, and if you don't want to make your own whipped cream...I guess store bought is fine.

Yield: 6 desserts

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar on hand, you can pulse granulated sugar in a food processor)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • 1 cup whipped cream (we strongly suggest you make your own)
  • 12 ounces cherries, pitted (we used frozen since it's not cherry season)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon 

Directions:

  1. Soak the cherries: Thaw cherries (if using frozen) and soak in bourbon for an hour, up to overnight.
  2. Make the meringue cookie: Preheat oven to 300 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Draw 3 six inch circles on each sheet and flip over. If you prefer to make a single pavlova, heap all meringue on one parchment covered baking sheet, in a eight inch circle.  Don't spread the meringue all the way to the edge of the circles, as it will spread some during the baking process.
  3. Fill a medium sized saucepan about 1/3 way up with water and let simmer.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, dark brown sugar, superfine sugar, and salt.  Place mixing bowl over simmering saucepan and whisk constantly, until both sugars have dissolved and the mixture is warm; this should take about 3 minutes.  Be careful not to let crystals from the sugar form or else your meringue will be grainy.
  4. Remove mixing bowl from heat and using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (about 8-9 minutes).  Beat in vanilla.
  5. Sift cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and chipotle powder over the meringue and then fold until all streaks disappear.
  6. Spread/pile meringue on baking sheets (in the circles).  Form a well in the center to hold your filling.  Bake for 45-60 minutes, until meringue has dried out.  Let meringues completely cool before serving.  Meringues can be keep for a day if stored in an airtight container.
  7. Assemble: in a shallow bowl or plate, layer meringue, whipped cream, and cherries (see picture above).  Garnish with grated chocolate, if desired.