A Hot Mess (Or a Less Messy Nest!)

By • February 9, 2012 • 9 Comments

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Author Notes: Taking an Eton Mess as a point of departure, I got a little help from my friends at Epicuious.com. to make a chocolate meringue with some spice. I left out a few flavors that did not appeal to me, and added others. I had been gifted with some black cardamom pods from a very nice person, and so I knew that would be a part of the spice mix. Still orange-rich, I decided that I would use orange supremes as my fruit, and then came the idea to create a poaching liquid - one of my favorite ways to prepare fruit. From that point, I got into a mad scientist mode. This dessert is way over the top, and you will feel a little heat from both the poaching liquid and the chocolate sauce, and there is some preparation, but most of the components can be made in advance: the meringues, the fruit, and the toasted coconut. Once all the parts are made, it's a matter of building the Hot Mess. Save this dessert for company after you prepare one of the many chili recipes on food52. To really be excessive, use an 8 ounce glass to build the Mess, but trust me, a 4 ounce glass and fewer layers is still a very rich serving. You can also build less of a mess in a nice little chocolate meringue nest ( check photo stream).
Bevi

Makes 4 to 8 parfaits depending on size of parfait glass

To make the meringues and the poached oranges and the toasted coconut

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 pinches ground black cardamom
  • 3/4 cups egg whites (5 or 6 whites)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 11 tablespoons sugar (vanilla sugar, preferably - add a used vanilla bean to some sugar and smell the difference))
  • 2 supremed Cara Cara oranges and their juices, or other juicy orange
  • 2 supremed Blood or Moro oranges and their juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 2-inch piece of orange peel
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 quick and dirty shake of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  1. For the Meringues: Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Place one oven rack in the bottom of your oven, and another rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare 2 baking sheets with sheets of either aluminum foil or parchment paper. Mix the powdered sugar, cocoa, and the spices in a bowl, stirring thoroughly with a wire whisk. Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in a stand up mixer, and beat until soft peaks form. Then, add 2 TBS. of the sugar and beat until the whites are stiffer. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the mixer, one tablespoon at a time, and then beat about 3 minutes until the meringue is very stiff. Transfer to a large glass bowl.
  2. With 3 additions, fold the dry mixture into the meringue until all the ingredients are incorporated and the color is uniform. Use a pastry bag to pipe the meringues onto the baking sheets, both in logs and typical puff shapes. (For a nest, pipe a 2 to 3 " circle, and then pipe a single "wall" atop the perimeter of the meringue circle.) Bake for 2 hours, rotating the trays and turning them after an hour. After 2 hours, turn off the oven and keep the oven door ajar by inserting a wooden spoon into the oven door. Transfer the cooled meringues into a container lined with parchment paper until ready for use. The meringues can be made a few days in advance.
  3. For the Poached Oranges: Supreme the oranges. Add the juice you can squeeze from the pulp to the poaching liquid as indicated in the next step.
  4. For the Poached Oranges: Place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan, stir until all the sugar is dissolved, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Add the orange juices, the orange peel and the cinnamon stick, and continue to simmer until the liquid is thicker. Give a quick shake of cayenne to the liquid, stir, and turn off the heat. Allow to cool at room temperature. When the poaching liquid is cooled, place the supremes in the liquid, cover, and place in the refrigerator. The supremes can be prepared a day or two in advance.
  5. Place the coconut in a pan that you can put in the toaster oven, and toast for less than 2 minutes. Watch carefully! As soon as the coconut is toasted, stir the agave syrup directly into the coconut. Allow to cool, and store in a covered container. The coconut can be made in advance.

For the Spicy Chocolate Sauce, the Whipped Cream, and Assembly

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho passila
  • 1 pinch ground black cardamom
  • 1 2-inch piece of orange peel
  • quick and dirty shake of cayenne pepper
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet, organic chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  1. Heat 1 cup of the heavy cream, agave syrup, and the spices in a medium saucepan. Bring to a quick simmer. Add the orange peel, the cinnamon stick, and the cayenne pepper. Reduce heat and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit in order to be infused for an hour.
  2. Heat the chocolate chips in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. When the chocolate is melted, gradually add the infused cream, stirring constantly. Keep the chocolate over the saucepan at the lowest possible heat while you prepare the whipped cream.
  3. Add one cup of heavy cream to the chilled bowl of a stand up mixer. Beat until the cream begins to thicken, then add the vanilla bean seeds. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until cream is nicely whipped.
  4. To assemble the mess, spoon a teaspoon of the chocolate sauce into a parfait glass. Crumble a meringue, and add another spoon of chocolate sauce. Add some whipped cream. Then, add another crumbled meringue, some chocolate sauce and then add a layer of orange supremes, with a spoonful of poaching liquid. Then, add another layer of whipped cream. Repeat the process as you choose, but make sure you have 2 layers of orange supremes. Top with whipped cream, and then add toasted coconut, and finally some orange zest. After the first bite, the mess begins!
  5. Cook's Note: For the less messy nest, place a tablespoon of the chocolate sauce on a serving plate, and swirl it around the plate. Firmly place the meringue nest atop the pool of sauce. Pour another spoon of sauce in the nest, followed by a tablespoon of whipped cream. Then, add 4 or 5 orange supremes, and spoon a tablespoon of poaching liquid atop the supremes, and a few drops around the plate. Top supremes with another dollop of whipped cream, and crown with the toasted coconut and a few bits of orange zest!
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over 2 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

the chocolate immediately following the citrus contest is brilliant, you are not the only person using leftover citrus to flavor chocolate!! this sounds great, saving it for a party after chili

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

There are nice flavors going on- most with a little heat! Have a good time with it!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love creamy messy desserts this is wonderful Bevi! Totally worth the mess in the kitchen for sure.

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

Thanks! It is very creamy and exceedingly messy - but delish!

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

And my kitchen was another hot mess.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Truly over the top, Bevi! (love the name)

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

Thanks, drbabs! I discovered the Eton Mess early on in my cooking life when I dropped a tray of meringues.

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over 2 years ago lapadia

WOW! A mad kitchen scientist, for sure :)

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

Well you are the mistress of taking by products and making the most of them - like your whey creations!