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Secret flavor booster updates sweet, layered Eton mess
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Secret flavor booster updates sweet, layered Eton mess

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Eton mess — Britain’s luscious mixture of berries, whipped cream and broken meringue cookies — takes its name from the English boarding school, where it is served during cricket matches. All the ingredients are layered in a jar, which gives the dessert an appealing premise.

The problem is, it tends to be one-note sweet and lacking in nuance.

For our version, from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, we included one unusual flavor booster — sherry vinegar. The tartness brings a lovely balance to the sweetness of the meringues and mimics some of the acid found in many berries.

To ease prep, 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 the vinegar.

The result is a delicious blend of textures and sweet-and-sour flavors, all put together in elegant layers that make this dessert only seem like it was a lot of work.

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