Le Talleyrand
Le Talleyrand

Simone Beck’s flambéed cherry pudding meringue dessert, named after the 19th-century French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord.

I apologize in advance.

My dad, the same dad who’s never met a dessert recipe he didn’t want to try, recently spotted it in the New York Times.

When we remembered that my brother Eddie’s birthday was coming up, any resistance there might have been to this dessert was shattered. It doesn’t matter that Ed couldn’t make it to dinner that day. The die was cast, Le Talleyrand was to be cast, birthday boy or not.

Le Talleyrand is a dessert consisting of a layer of cherries soaked in kirsch, covered with a layer of custard and a layer of meringue, then flambéed when served.

The recipe comes from Simone Beck, aka Simca, Julia Childs collaborator at Mastering the Art of French Cooking and author of Simca’s Cuisine.

Christine Muhlke of The New York Times describes Simca as “a woman so edgy and demanding that she is indexed in Child’s book with such details as ‘hand injury from,’ ‘Julia’s reluctance with,’ and ‘personality and temperament from.’ Child called her “La Super-Française”; Paul Child called them “sigh-moans”. No matter how refined her palate, her haughty, inferior French demeanor could never win over the American public, and she quietly withdrew to her kitchens in Paris and Provence.”

Ms. Muhlke wrote of Le Talleyrand: “A fluffy, flambéed dessert that could mark the end of the era when dishes were named after the great men of history or their mistresses.”

Le Talleyrand was delicious, a bit complicated to make but doable, and the flambéed part was really cool. Especially when you spoon the blue flamed burning kirsch out of the eggshell over the remaining meringue.

We probably didn’t put the eggshell in deep enough, our dessert looks a bit more volcano-like than it probably should, but the ooh-ahh factor was still there. Enjoy!

Le Talleyrand

total time
0 minutes

8 servings


  • 2 16-ounce cans dark cherries, pitted

  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup kirsch or dark rum

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • About 2/3 cup blanched almonds, finely ground

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons flour, preferably cake flour

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

  • 10 tablespoons powdered sugar plus extra for sieving

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 7 egg whites

  • pinch of salt

  • 3 tablespoons sliced ​​almonds


  1. Prepare cherries:

    Drain the cherries and reserve the juice. Place the cherries in a bowl with 1/3 cup kirsch or rum and 3/4 cup juice from one of the cherry cans and let sit for at least half an hour, stirring once or twice.

  2. Make the pudding:

    Put the yolks and sugar on top of a water bath. (Save the cleanest empty egg shell and trim the edges with scissors.) Beat until fluffy and light yellow, 2 or 3 minutes.

    Strain the maceration liquid from the cherries and mix gently with a whisk. Stir in ground almonds and flour.

    Place over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a thick, smooth cream, about 15 minutes.

    Remove from heat and place in a bowl placed in an ice bath. Stir cold with a spatula.

  3. Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla:

    Whip the cream until the beaters leave light marks on the surface. Beat in 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until soft mounds form. Put aside.

  4. Finish the pudding and meringue:

    a. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry.

    b. Fold half of the egg whites into the whipping cream until combined.

    c. Stir 3 tablespoons of the cream and egg white mixture into the cream to lighten; Then fold all of the cream back into the remaining cream mixture. Put aside.

    i.e. Add the remaining 8 tablespoons powdered sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla to the remaining egg whites and beat until glossy and the egg whites are stiff enough to hold their shape when heaped onto the pudding (this may take a few minutes last).

  5. Preheat oven to 425°F
  6. Assemble the cherries, custard, and meringue:

    Butter a 9 x 12 inch oval casserole dish.

    Scatter the cherries over the base and pour the cream over them.

    Spread the meringue over the cream, leaving a small border and forming a meringue dome towards the center.

    Press the eggshell into the meringue so that it only shows as a depression in the middle. (Dessert can be made up to 1 hour in advance; refrigerate.)

  7. Bake:

    Sprinkle the meringue with the slivers of almonds, then sift some powdered sugar on top. Cook until the meringue is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

  8. flambé:

    Heat the remaining kirsch or rum in a small saucepan. Remove from the oven, pour some of the alcohol into the eggshell, pour the rest over the meringue and set on fire.

    Bring flames to the table and spoon the liqueur over it to caramelize the sugar until the flames die out.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!