Have I driven you crazy with the strawberry recipes yet?
There hasn’t been a week that has gone by that I’m not throwing them in something and sharing it with you. This week I’ve added some rhubarb, which is also in season right now. Rhubarb is a crazy, stalk looking plant with a naturally tart taste.
I say plant because I wasn’t sure if it was a fruit or a vegetable so, of course, what do you do when you don’t know something… you google it. And what I found is that it’s usually considered a vegetable, but in the 40s New York state said that since it was used primarily as a fruit, it counted as a fruit. Um, yeah… I’m just as lost as you are. So, plant it is.
Rhubarb is very tart when eaten raw, but it is often sweetened with sugar and put in pies or other desserts. I cut up my rhubarb, along with some strawberries, tossed it in some sugar and roasted it in the oven until it was soft and juicy. The sweetness of the strawberries and the tart bite of the rhubarb make for a perfect combination.
Then came the base of the pavlova, a large meringue that has a crisp outer crust and a soft, marshmallow center. The wonderful thing about this dessert is that it is best to make the meringue base the night before and allow it to cool in the oven overnight.
I love desserts like this, especially when entertaining, because most of the work is done ahead of time.
Top it with some fresh whipped cream and you strawberry-rhubarb mixture, and finish it with a sprinkling of fresh mint. You not only have yourself a picture-perfect summertime dessert that would impress at any party, but also a decadent sweet with layers of flavor.
- 1½ cups sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- coarse salt
- 8 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 8 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- 1½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Fresh mint (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Stir together 1 cup sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together egg whites, lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon salt until very frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and gradually add sugar mixture.
- Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 12 to 15 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Mound the meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a 7-inch circle, creating a slight well in the center of the circle.
- Bake until the meringue is crisp on the outside and the texture of a marshmallow on the inside (about 2½ hours). If the meringue starts to brown, reduce oven temperature to 175 degrees.
- Turn off heat and let meringue cool in the oven for at least 2½ hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combined the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar in a bowl and toss until the rhubarb and strawberries are covered with sugar.
- Spread onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake until tender (about 10-12 minutes), spooning juices over halfway through.
- Carefully transfer fruit and juices to a baking dish and let cool completely.
- Just before serving, beat together cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Place meringue on a serving platter and fill with whipped cream.
- Top with fruit and drizzle juices over top.
- Garnish with a chiffonade of mint and serve immediately.