Smashed chocolate licorice meringues with whipped cream and cherries

These meringues are the dense chewy kind rather than the light ones, which are often too dry. A little licorice gives an added warmth and depth to the chocolate meringue.
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Serves 6
Preparation time: 30 mins
Baking time: 1h15 mins
* 3 medium egg whites
* 150g soft dark brown sugar
* 30g cocoa powder
* 40g soft black licorice sweets, very chopped finely
* 125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
* 1/4 tsp salt
 * 200ml whipping cream
* 200g cherries
* 30g dark chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 120°C (fan). Place the chocolate and the licorice in a heatproof bowl and set over a  pan of just simmering water (don’t let the base touch the water). Once melted take off the heat and leave to cool for five minutes.

2. In the meantime, begin to whisk the egg whites with the salt until very frothy, then gradually crumble in the sugar while whisking continually. Whisk until the egg whites reach quite firm peaks.

3. Sift in the cocoa powder and pour in the cooled melted chocolate. Fold until the cocoa powder and chocolate are incorporated. Spoon six heaps onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until crisp and dry on the outside.
4. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Cut the cherries in half (but keep the stalks on for decoration if you prefer).
5. To serve, crumble up the meringue along the serving plate. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag and make dots of cream randomly on the plate. Dress with the cherry halves. Use a vegetable peeler or a grater to add little flakes of chocolate on the top.
Get ahead
The meringues, once cooled, will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well.
Try not to over fold the meringue with the chocolate and cocoa powder. You want to keep as much of the air in the meringue as possible.

More cherry recipes from Rachel Khoo:

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