Delicately spiced pink rhubarb, lashings of cream and a crisp brown sugar meringue makes for pav perfection. Just the ticket for lunch this weekend.
Rhubarb and ginger pavlova
If you have fussy children to please, you could swap the ginger for white sugar, but this version works beautifully.
The addition of vinegar (a Nigella tip) helps to make the middle beautifully soft and chewy. All but the whipped cream for the topping can be made ahead of time and the whole assembled just before eating. Note that the two main components require plenty of oven time at different temperatures, so plan ahead.
FOR THE MERINGUE
6 egg whites
300g soft brown sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
50g crystallised ginger, sliced thinly
FOR THE TOPPING
3 sticks rhubarb
3 tbsp honey
Zest and juice of one orange
1 vanilla pod, split
3 Chinese star anise
1 vanilla pod
500ml double cream, to serve
TO MAKE THE MERINGUE
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan160C/350F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a perfectly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form peaks, then slowly whisk in the sugar a tbsp at a time. It will turn sepia-coloured and shiny. Sprinkle in the vinegar and the crystallised ginger, then carefully fold in until combined.
3. Spoon and smooth the mixture into a circle approximately 23cm across on the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and reduce the heat to 150C/Fan130/300F. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until it is dry and crisp on the outside. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and leave to cool completely.
FOR THE RHUBARB TOPPING
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/ Fan160/350F. Slice the rhubarb into 2-inch pieces and place in a deep- sided baking dish. Pour over the honey and orange juice. Scrape
the beans out of the vanilla pod into the juices, then add the pod along with the Chinese star anise.
5. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender but still holding its shape. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
6. Whip the cream and spread it generously over the cooled meringue base. Spoon the rhubarb carefully onto the top, dribbling over some of the juices, and serve immediately.
For the rest of Lia Leendertz's rhubarb feature - including recipes for Tempura mackerel with rhubarb relish, and Dusky pink lady cocktails - turn to page 36 of the March issue of The Simple Things. Not got your March issue? Buy now, subscribe or look inside