Dark Chocolate Mousse Parfaits with Cherry Almond Syrup

Chocolate Cherry Almond Parfaits
Last week I bought lots and lots of cherries. Whenever I see that they are $2 pound, I get a little crazy. Olive loves them and will stand at the kitchen sink eating them until…well I don’t know how long she’d stand there because I’ve always intervened.  I should wait and see how long it goes on next time just for fun.

But the new wears off (slightly) and I need to use up the forgotten ones at the bottom of the colander for something.  Enter: cherry almond syrup. I layered dark chocolate mousse with the fresh made, chunky cherry almond syrup and it was so perfect. I also used the syrup on sourdough waffles and I’m still thinking about those perfect, crispy little things. It’s fun to make a “loose jam” like this syrup out of any fruit you find yourself needing to use up. It’s about to be apricot season and I can’t wait to make this with those! Or plums! Ah, stone-fruits.  You have my heart.  Dark Chocolate Cherry Parfaits

Cherry Almond Syrup

I used this recipe for the chocolate mousse and used 80% Lindt instead of semi-sweet chips.  Totally intense chocolate, but so perfect (for me.)

2 cups pitted cherries, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS water
1/8th teaspoon almond extract

In a medium saucepan, bring the cherries, sugar and water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.  Serve on top of ice cream, on waffles, pancakes, or in this tasty little layered parfait with dark chocolate mousse like I did.

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cherry Almond Syrup

Advertisements

Pavlovas with Black Cherry Syrup

Cherry Pavlova with Greek Yogurt

 

While we were on our trip last week, Matt and I stole away, left the kid with our friends, and had a little adventure in Seattle.  After a ferry ride and a crazy time trying to catch the bus in the midst of 300,000 people watching a parade downtown, we finally made it to Delancy – a pizza place that’s out of this world.  We seek out pizza in nearly every town we visit.  Okay, okay, we seek out FOOD in every town we visit, but more often than not, that will include a pizza joint.  Matt has been perfecting his pizza crust for the past few years and I can safely say after hundreds of pizzas made at home and hundreds we have tried out and about, Delancy is the best out and about and Matt’s is just as good – only it’s in our own kitchen.  Score one for Palmsey.  

This is beginning to sound like a pizza post, but it’s not.  I already did that a few months ago and the recipe hasn’t changed!  This is a post about how awesome Delancy was, and how you should go there, and when you do go there, go next door to get a drink because you’ll have an hour wait.  Next door is an extension of Delancy’s kitchen called Essex and they have wonderful appetizers and desserts.  One of which we ordered at the end of our perfect pizza experience – a pavlova with Greek yogurt and raspberries.  I’d had pavlova (baked meringue) with other fruits and it’s traditionally served with creme anglais or ice cream, but the Greek yogurt was such a wonderful way to cut the almost-too-sweet combination of a sugary meringue and raspberry syrup.  This desert was gone in about 5 seconds and went immediately on my list of recipes to recreate once I got home.

So here we are.  I got home on Tuesday and went shopping.  Raspberries were $3 for a half pint.  No thank you.  Cherries were $1.50 for a whole pound.  Sold.  I cooked the cherries down in a little brown sugar and let the juices bubble away and form a syrup and whipped up a little full-fat, plain Greek yogurt to place in the meringues once they were baked.  When Matt got home, I had two portions set out and while Olive napped, we ate.  Before dinner.  The joys of being an adult.  Matt even exclaimed, “This is EXACTLY RIGHT” which, if you know Matt, really means something.  I was proud of the recreation and I’ll definitely make it, again.  Maybe next time with apricot preserves…the options are really endless!

Pavlova with Black Cherry Syrup and Greek Yogurt

 

Pavlovas with Cherries and Yogurt*
makes 8-10 pavlovas, depending on size

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5-6 (about 6 oz) large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch salt

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and salt, starting on low, increasing to medium speed until soft peaks start to become visible, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla.  Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.

Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white — not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.

Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for a week.

*recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Black Cherry Pavlova

Cherry Compote
makes about a cup

2 cups pitted cherries
1/4 cup brown sugar
Squeeze of lemon

Put the cherries and the brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and let it come to a simmer.  Let it cook for about 20 minutes, mashing the cherries a bit as you go.  When the syrup starts to thicken a bit, take it off the heat and squeeze a lemon over it all and stir it up until incorporated.  Let the sauce come to room temp before topping the pavlovas.  

To Assemble:

Take one meringue shell and place it on a plate.  Scoop out a generous 1/4 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt and place on top of the meringue.  Top the yogurt generously with the chunky cherry syrup and serve!  Modify as you wish with whipped cream, creme anglais, frozen yogurt – whatever you like!  And if you can’t make a fruity compote, I suppose warming up some preserves wouldn’t be too shabby 🙂