Christmas mess

Mark Hix's delicious cranberry, chestnut and meringue concoction makes a great alternative Christmas dessert
By Mark Hix
Christmas mess
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 40-50 chestnuts, in the shell
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 150-200 g small ready-made meringues

For the cranberry sauce

  • 200 g fresh cranberries
  • 90 g sugar
  • 1 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 orange, juice only


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Make an incision in the top of each chestnut with a small sharp knife and place them on a baking tray. Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.

2. For the cranberry sauce: put the cranberries, sugar and cinnamon in a heavy-based saucepan with the orange juice. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes until the cranberries have softened. Discard the cinnamon. Taste the sauce for sweetness and add a little more sugar if necessary. Leave to cool.

3. Peel the chestnuts, removing as much of the brown skin as you possibly can. Place the nuts on a foil-lined baking tray and dust with the icing sugar. Bake again for about 20 minutes, turning the chestnuts every so often. Remove and set aside to cool.

4. Whip the cream and caster sugar together in a bowl until very thick, using an electric whisk if you wish.

5. To assemble, break the meringues into pieces and fold into the cream with about two-thirds of the chestnuts. Pile onto the center of individual serving plates. Scatter the remaining chestnuts on top and spoon the rest of the cranberry sauce over. Serve at once.

Rate This Recipe