These deconstructed cherry crisps make easy work of a summer dinner party dessert. Impressively elegant-looking but crazy simple to pull off--the compote, thyme-shortbread crumble, and toasted meringue toppers can be made ahead.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Credit: Blaine Moats

Recipe Summary

10 mins
45 mins
3 1/2 cups cherry filling


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. If using frozen cherries, thaw then drain, reserving 1/4 cup juice. For crumb topper: In a medium bowl stir together cookie crumbs, butter, and cinnamon. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8 minutes or until browned and crisp. Toss with thyme. Set aside to cool.*

  • For filling: In a large saucepan stir together cherries, reserved juice if using frozen, 2/3 cup sugar, and the cornstarch.

  • Cook and stir cherry mixture over medium until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.* Divide filling among 8 to 10 dessert dishes. Let stand up to 2 hours.

  • For marshmallow meringue topper:** Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. In a large bowl beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar with a mixer on medium about 1 minute or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high. Beat continuously until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks and sugar dissolves. Spoon mixture into mounds or spread in a rectangle on the prepared baking sheet (see how-to). Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat 30 to 60 seconds or until browned, or use a culinary torch to brown tops.*

  • Top cherry filling with crumb topper, then spoon toasted meringue over each. Makes 8 to 10 crisps.


Prepare and store crumb topper in an airtight container at room temperature up to 24 hours. Prepare cherry filling, cool 30 minutes, then cover and chill overnight; reheat before serving. Chill meringue topper up to 4 hours before toasting or up to 2 hours after toasting.


Spread one 13-ounce container marshmallow creme to form a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Broil as in Step 4.


If you're making mini crisps, drop meringue by spoonfuls. If serving family-style, spread into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, swirl, and let guests scoop their own.

Nutrition Facts

337 calories; fat 13g; cholesterol 26mg; saturated fat 5g; carbohydrates 56g; mono fat 2g; insoluble fiber 2g; sugars 40g; protein 4g; vitamin a 1230.5IU; vitamin c 2.3mg; thiamin 0.1mg; riboflavin 0.2mg; niacin equivalents 0.5mg; vitamin b6 0.1mg; folate 6.7mcg; sodium 165mg; potassium 204mg; calcium 20mg; iron 1mg.