Eton on a messy gap year
4 free range egg whites
115g icing sugar, sieved
115g caster sugar
120g pistachio nuts, toasted & roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon powder
60-80g brown sugar (to taste)
4 or 5 green cardamom pods, crushed & seeds well bruised
250ml double cream
1. Heat the over to 90 C, and line a large tray with a non stick liner. Foil and baking paper tends to stick, so baking parchment or liners work better.
2. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl (not plastic) until they form light fluffy peaks, then add the caster sugar, whisking as you go. The mixture should become glossy and thick.
3. Sieve the icing sugar in to the bowl, a little at a time, gently folding or whisking in the mixture, until it's thick and well mixed. be careful not to overmix or you will knock out the air.
4. Blend half the pistachios to make a smooth paste and then fold into the mixture. Then scoop the mixture onto the tray to make several rough rounds of meringue. Place in the oven and bake for 2 1/2 hours. Once cooked, leave to cool fully, then break into large pieces. The pistachio meringue will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
5. In a small frying pan, gently toast the cardamom pods and then mix well into the cream. Gently heat the cream in a small pan, but don't boil. Leave to steep and fully cool. Then pour through a fine sieve. Lightly whip the cooled cream.
6. To make the plum compote, remove the stones from the plums, and cut into quarters. Place the fruit into a pan with brown sugar, cinnamon powder and 30ml water.
7. Bring to boil and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes until fruit is softened and starting to break down. You still want to have chunks of soft fruit, so avoid over-cooking.
8. When ready to serve, take a tall glass and add a few pieces of meringue, then add layers of plum compote, cardamom cream and meringue, until glass is filled. Top with cream and some of the remaining pistachio nuts. Serve immediately.