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


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; 13 g total fat; 5 g saturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 26 mg cholesterol; 165 mg sodium. 204 mg potassium; 56 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 40 g sugar; 4 g protein; 0 g trans fatty acid; 1230 IU vitamin a; 2 mg vitamin c; 0 mg thiamin; 0 mg riboflavin; 1 mg niacin equivalents; 0 mg vitamin b6; 7 mcg folate; 0 mcg vitamin b12; 20 mg calcium; 1 mg iron;