Monday, 4 June 2012

Strawberry and Rhubarb Pavlova

I've just been reprimanded by my mother for licking my plate.  She actually slapped me.  I'm thirty-five years old and taller than her.  And she still slapped me and called me a savage.  She then threatened to post about it on Facebook so I am trying to beat her to the jump and admit to it on here instead.

Plate-lickingly good
A few weeks back, I asked her if she would allow me to bring a Jubilee Bundt and if I could make a pavlova for Sunday lunch.  Unfortunately, my grandfather scuppered that plan by not paying attention to the meal timings, and turning up six hours early.

I'd originally intended to make it a bit of a tropical affair but then foraging in mother's garden yesterday, I happened across some rhubarb.  With some inspiration from Olive Magazine on the BBC Good Food Website, the plan was amended to individual strawberry and rhubarb pavlovas.

To make it even more English, we abandoned the Dutch Esalanta strawberries and went to a local Pick Your Own with Miss A to get some 'gawbies'.

I was really pleased with the combination of flavours - I'm not normally a fan of meringues as I find them too sweet and only picked the recipe as a technical challenge but the sharpness of the rhubarb and the mellow vanilla cream really balanced the sweetness out.  Will definitely be making this again - probably as a full size pavlova next time.  And I'll most definitely be licking the plate again.

Freshly foraged
Recipe - Serves 6 (adapted from Olive Magazine)

  • 4 extra large eggs (mother buys these from a local eggery)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour

  • 400g young rhubarb, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g small strawberries, halved.
  • 3 tbsp grenadine

  • 568ml pot double cream
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Picking gawbies

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/350F.
  2. Draw circles with a diameter of around 15cm onto two sheets of baking parchment, sized to fit baking trays.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and will not fall out of the bowl when it is inverted.  Whisk the sugar in one tablespoonful at a time until the meringue is thick and glossy.  Then whisk in the vinegar and cornflour.
  4. Use a tiny bit of meringue to secure the corners of the baking paper to the baking tray to stop it slipping around.
  5. Place the paper upside down on the meringue blobs (so the pencil markings are face down on the tray).  Spoon a layer of meringue onto each circle and shape to fill the diameter of the circle.  Divide the rest of the meringue between the six circles.  Make an indentation into the middle of each circle then use a palette knife to build up the sides of the pavlovas.
  6. Turn the oven down to 120c/100c fan/250F and bake the meringues for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and leave to go cold.
  7. Meanwhile place the rhubarb and sugar into saucepan with a tablespoon of water and simmer until the rhubarb is softened and the sugar is syrupy.  Leave to cool.
  8. Heat the grenadine in a small saucepan until reduced by half.  Take off the heat, stir in the strawberries and leave to go cold.
  9. Put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla into a large bowl. Whip until slightly thicker than clotted cream then refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  10. When ready to plate up, fill the centre of the pavlovas with generous spoonfuls of the cream. Top each with some rhubarb compote and strawberries then pour over the remaining grenadine syrup.  Serve immediately.

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