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Baked Rhubarb Pavlova

20-May-2013

 

Baked Rhubarb Pavlova

 

I’ve wanted to make pavlova since the first time I saw Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, make individual versions on one of her shows. I thought my recent Afternoon Tea was a good time to try them out.  Once I started looking at recipes I decided to use Giada DeLaurentiis’ recipe for the meringues and Martha Stewart’s recipe for a rhubarb topping, although I skipped the pistachios.

The recipe for the meringue shells is basically the same you’d use for meringue cookies. The shells are sweet and a little bit addicting. Using slightly sweetened, tart-by-nature rhubarb for the “fruit” topping (technically rhubarb is a vegetable) provides a nice balance for this dessert.

While pavlova looks impressive, this dessert is easy to make. You need to plan enough time for the meringue shells to bake and then cool (about 4 hours after they’ve been mixed and formed). You can also make one large pavlova then slice it into wedges for serving.

Again, this is a recipe where all the components can be made ahead and the final dessert quickly assembled just before serving.

You’ll need:

  • Meringue shells
  • Fresh fruit or fruit compote for the topping
  • Whipped heavy cream

 

Meringue Shells

adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup superfine baker’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until thick, about 2 minutes. With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Drop 8 (1/2) cupfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Using the back of a spoon make a 1 1/2-inch diameter well in the center of each meringue. Alternately, trace 4″ circles on the parchment paper, then turn the paper over so the tracings are on the back of the paper. Spoon or pipe the meringue into the circles and make or leave an indention in the center. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for 2 hours. Store airtight in a plastic container for up to 1 week.

Rhubarb Topping

adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced on the bias into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine rhubarb, water, sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Bake until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes, spooning juices over halfway through.

Carefully transfer rhubarb pieces (they will be very soft) to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet with a spatula; reserve juices. Let cool completely.

The rhubarb can be made early in the day.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extra
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)

Add the vanilla and sugar, if using to the cream.  Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Cream can be whipped early in the day and then refrigerated. Just before assembling pavlovas, check the cream to see if it needs to be whipped a little bit more.

Pavlova

Place a shell on a plate.  Fill the indention with whip cream.  Top with some of the rhubarb pieces and then drizzle with the juices.

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