I was asked recently to come up with a recipe to promote the recently launched Monarch Airlines new route to Porto in Portugal. Most recipes involving Port are rich meat dishes so I wanted to do something a little different.
It may officially be summer here in the UK but goodness me you would never know it! It’s been feeling very autumnal indeed. The recipe I have chosen to incorporate Port, the drink unique to the area, is an Eton Mess hybrid. To me, Eton Mess is a very traditional English summer dish but I have given it a little autumnal twist. Using pears poached in a spiced Port instead of strawberries will keep with the weather vibe here in my little corner of England. I hope you like the idea and give it a go for yourselves.
Of course if you were feeling particularly adventurous you could by all means make your own meringues and here is a recipe by meringue aficionados the Meringue Girls! But, if you want to be quick, pick yourself up some ready made meringues. Make sure they are made with free range eggs though!
- 500ml/17fl oz Port
- 2 star anise
- 3 heaped tbsp caster sugar
- 3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
- 300ml/10fl oz double cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
- 15g/½oz 70% dark chocolate, shaved or grated
- 1 handful of pistachios, coursley chopped
- 2 or 3 ready made meringue
- Pour the port into a saucepan and add the star anise and sugar. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and add the pears.
- Cover with a circle of parchment paper and leave to cook for approximately 10 minutes. You want the pears to remain quite firm. Leave to sit in the liquid for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pears from the liquid, then return the liquid to the heat and boil until reduced and slightly syrupy.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until you have soft peaks.
- Place the meringue in a big bowl, and break it up roughly with your hands.
- Dollop over the cream, turn it over a few times, then spoon over half the port syrup and turn it a little more.
- Transfer to a big plate and top with the pears.
- Drizzle over the remaining port syrup, then scatter over the chocolate shavings and a handful of chopped pistachios and serve immediately.