Explore Leiths Diploma Open House – 5th June 2024


Sophie Wyburd’s Chocolate and Cherry Meringue Tower

Jeremy Lee is the executive chef at Quo Vadis in Soho, the first and only proper restaurant I ever worked in, and he is famous for making the most fabulous puddings in London, if not the world. Working there, I assembled many enormous meringue towers, rich with cream, fruit and toasted nuts. This pud is inspired by my time there. It features Black Forest flavours; my dad is passionate about chocolate, cherries and cream as a combination, so when making him a pud, I often use these flavours.


Serves 8-10

Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes, plus cooling

40g dark chocolate, plus 15g for grating on top

4 large egg whites

230g caster sugar

450g frozen cherries

2 tbsp Kirsch (optional)

300ml double cream

25g icing sugar



  1. Preheat your oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas mark 1 and line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, and microwave it in bursts until it is melted. Alternatively, pop the chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a simmering pan of water, and let it gently melt. Allow it to cool slightly.
  3. Tip your egg whites into a large mixing bowl, and weigh out 200g of your sugar in a separate bowl. Using electric beaters, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add a couple of heaped spoonfuls of the sugar, then whisk again until you get stiff peaks. Continue adding the sugar like this until all 200g has been incorporated, and you have a thick, glossy mixture in the bowl.
  4. Pour your melted chocolate into the bowl, and gently fold it through as streaks. Take generous spoonfuls of this meringue mixture, and dollop them onto the prepared baking trays in glossy heaps, spaced well apart. You should get about 10 meringues. Place both trays in the oven, and bake them for 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, add your cherries to a saucepan over a medium heat, along with your remaining 30g of sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has a thin, syrupy consistency. Stir in the kirsch, if using, then leave it to cool.
  6. Pour your double cream into a medium mixing bowl, and add the icing sugar. Whisk with electric beaters until it thickens into soft peaks. Be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want it to look fluffy.
  7. Allow your meringues to cool completely. When ready to serve, spoon a little cream onto your chosen serving plate. Add a few meringues on top, and dollop over some cream and cherry compote. Continue to stack meringues, cream and compote on top until they are all used up. Grate over a little more chocolate, then serve.

Extracted from Tucking In by Sophie Wyburd (Ebury Press, £22). Photography by Lizzie Mayson.