Snow eggs with vanilla and cardamom custard, poached pear balls and caramel
- 6 egg whites
- pinch cream of tartar
- 250g caster sugar
For the custard
- 400g whole milk
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 6 egg yolks
- 75g caster sugar
For the poached pear balls
- 200g caster sugar
- juice and peeled zest 1 lemon
- 2 large pears, ripe but firm
For the caramel
- 150g caster sugar
- 15g salted butter
To make the snow eggs, use an electric beater to whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, whisking until the meringue is firm.
Heat the milk to a bare simmer and use 2 tablespoons to form the meringue into quenelles and drop into the milk. Poach them for 5 minutes, turning over halfway through. Ensure the milk doesn’t boil or the meringues will break or deflate. Carefully remove them from the milk, set on a plate and refrigerate until ready to use.
Add the cardamom pods and vanilla to the milk and leave to infuse for 10 minutes then strain to remove the cardamom.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Gradually stir in the warm milk, return to the pan and cook over a gentle heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Turn off the heat and cover with a circle of parchment paper to stop a skin forming on the custard.
To poach the pears, in a saucepan heat 250ml water with the sugar, lemon juice and peel until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the pears and use the large end of the melon baller to cut out balls from the fruit. Place them in the liquid to poach for 3-5 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.
To make the caramel, put the sugar and 3 tablespoons water into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, swirling the pan to help (don’t stir the mixture with a spoon or it will crystallise). Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up a little and cook until the mixture takes on a golden caramel colour. Remove from the heat and leave for a few seconds before stirring in the butter until smooth.
Serve the snow eggs in bowls with the custard and dot with the poached pear balls. Drizzle the caramel over the top.