Blackcurrant Eton Mess Bombe.
Byline: Stephen JACKSON Stephen is co-owner and chef at T&Cake Cafe, Almondbury
FOR THE PARFAIT: 12 egg yolks 350g unrefined golden caster sugar 960ml whipping cream The seeds of 2 vanilla pods FOR THE BLACKCURRANT COMPOTE: 400g fresh blackcurrants The juice of 2 lemons Unrefined golden caster sugar, to taste FOR THE MERINGUES: 50g unrefined golden caster sugar 25g unrefined light muscovado sugar 1/2 tsp cornflour 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 small egg whites EXTRAS: A suitable bombe mould, terrine or tub Mint leaves METHOD: Let's make the meringues first; set the oven to 140oC / Gas 1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Whisk the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract together to make a smooth paste.
In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and glossy, then whisk in a third of the sugar, adding a third of the cornflour paste and whisking back to firm peak stage. Repeat twice more until the mixture is thick and glossy. Decant into a piping bag and pipe small domes of meringue onto the tray.
Bake for 1-2 hours until dry, then turn off the heat and leave them to cool in the oven for a further hour. Remove from the paper and store in a cool dry place.
As the meringues bake gently, we shall make the compote. Check the blackcurrants for any remaining stalks and blemishes, and rinse quickly under a cold tap.
Tip into a pan, and add the lemon juice and a little sugar. Set over medium heat and warm, turning occasionally as they release their juice. Turn the heat down and simmer until the currants are soft and just starting to pop open. Test for sweetness, and adjust if necessary. Tip into a suitable bowl or tub and chill until required.
Now for the parfait; in a clean bowl (or the bowl of a food mixer) whisk the egg yolks and sugar with the vanilla seeds, until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy, and holds its shape well. Spoon carefully into a large bowl and pour the cream into another clean bowl. Whisk it to a soft-to-medium peak.
Fold the two mixtures together quickly but gently, adding the lighter cream to the heavier egg mixture in two batches, maximising lightness.
To assemble the bombe, smash the meringues into small pieces and fold into the parfait. When they are well incorporated, fold in spoonfuls of the blackcurrant compote, swirling to give a ripple effect.
Don't forget to leave some blackcurrant compote for garnishing. Spoon the parfait into the bombe moulds, terrine or tub, and freeze until set, at least 12 hours.
To serve, trim and unmould the halves of the bombe carefully, stick together and return to the freezer to firm up. Serve on a chilled plate, and spoon the remaining compote over the top, garnishing with some fresh mint leaves.