An Autumnal Eton Mess from Chef Wade Murphy on Today with Maura and Dáithí.

Ingredients

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 2 hours plus

For the Meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 125g castor sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar

For the Lemon Curd:

  • 100ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 whole free range eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g diced unsalted butter

For the Poached Pears:

  • 2 fresh pears
  • 3 camomile tea bags
  • 650ml water
  • 145g sugar

For the Berries:

  • 2 small punnets of fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp of soft brown sugar
  • 50mls of water
  • A splash of creme de cassis

To Finish:

  • 100mls of soft whipped cream 
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Toasted chopped almonds
  • Icing Sugar for dusting

Method

For the Meringue:

  1. Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar until medium peaks form.
  2. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar and continue to whisk until stiff and glossy.
  3. Preheat the oven to 85˚C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or even better if you have a silicone mat.
  4. Spread the meringue in a thin layer across the baking tray and place into the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until crisp and very little colour.
  5. Remove and allow to cool.

For the Lemon Curd:

  1. Combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a bowl.
  2. Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
  3. Whisk continuously until thick ribbons form. Slowly whisk in the butter in small amounts.
  4. Once the butter is completely incorporated into the mix, allow to cool.

For the Poached Pears:

  1. Combine the tea bags, sugar and water in a pan and stir to dissolve. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 45 minutes.
  3. Peel, core and cut the pears into 1/4's. Remove the tea bags and add the pears to the pan, reheat until simmering.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the liquid. They should be slightly soft to touch but not overcooked.
  5. Once cooled store the pears in the liquid in the fridge until needed.

For the Berries:

  1. Wash the blackberries and add half to a small pan with the sugar and the water.
  2. Warm the blackberries over medium heat and gently crush until the mixture starts to boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and push through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.
  4. Cut the other punnet of blackberries in half, add the creme de cassis and strained liquid and marinate the berries until required. 

To Finish:

  1. Take the whipped cream and add a few tablespoons of the lemon curd to it. Mix it lightly so as you have a ripple effect and it's not totally combined.
  2. Place some of the blackberry mix in the base of each glass and spoon over the lemon curd cream to cover.
  3. Dice the pears and place on top of the curd. Crush the meringue and sprinkle over the pears.
  4. Repeat the process again so that it's a double layer.
  5. Top with the toasted almonds, mint leaves and a dusting of icing sugar.