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Rhubarb & Strawberry Pavlova with White Chocolate Cream

Tue, 9 April 2024

Rhubarb & Strawberry Pavlova with White Chocolate Cream
INGREDIENTS
For the Brown Sugar & Pistachio Pavlova:
•     4 large free-range egg whites
•     150g caster sugar
•     50g soft brown sugar
•     ½ tsp cream of tartar
•     1 tsp white wine vinegar
•     1 tsp cornflour
•     75g pistachios shelled
 
For the Filling:
•     250g fresh cream
•     150g good quality white chocolate
 
For the Topping:
•     5/6 stalks rhubarb
•     400g frozen strawberries
•     2 sheets shop bought gelatine (or 1/2 block strawberry jelly)
•     1 vanilla pod (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
•     100g caster sugar
•     200g fresh strawberries
•     Mint
 
METHOD
1.    Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 110? for 15 minutes.
2.    Separate the eggs. You will only need the whites, not the yolks. Whip the egg whites until stiff, and gradually pour in the sugar as it whisks until fully combined. Add in the cream of tartar, vinegar and cornflour.
3.    Deshell the pistachios and chop finely. Sprinkle them over the top and sides of the pavlova. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow it to sit in the oven for another 3 hours until fully dried out.
4.    Melt the white chocolate by sitting a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan with about 3cm water in the bottom. While the chocolate is melting whip the cream. Allow the chocolate to cool and then fold into the cream.  Cover and chill until needed.
5.    Trim the ends of the rhubarb. Cut into 2 cm chunks. Pop into a saucepan with the sugar and frozen strawberries. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out all the seeds. Add them to the rhubarb and strawberries. Allow these to cook down over a low heat. Add a splash of water to get started if needed.
6.    When cooked, turn off. Strain through a sieve. Collect the liquid in a bowl and transfer the compote to a container for later.
7.    Optional: (this step can only be done if you have time to allow the jelly to set for a few hours). Soak a sheet of gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. When wobbly, pour a few spoons of the hot compote liquid on top, stir it until its fully dissolved. Return the compote to the saucepan and reduce to 1/3 the original quantity. Combine this with the gelatine ( or jelly ) and allow to sit for a few hours. To assemble. Place the pavlova on a cake stand. Dollop on the white chocolate cream filling. Carefully spoon the rhubarb and strawberry compote on top. Spoon over some of the jelly mixture.
8.    Add some fresh half-strawberries on top. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.
9.    For the compote, trim and cut the rhubarb into 2cm chunks, then hull and halve the strawberries. Place all the compote ingredients in a pan with a dash of water and cook over a low heat until the fruit is soft. Allow to cool.
10.   Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Draw a 25cm diameter circle on the sheet of non-stick baking paper with a pencil. Whisk the egg whites in a large, clean mixing bowl using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted (3-4 minutes).
11.   Gradually add the caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking well after each addition and bringing the whites back to stiff peaks before you add more sugar. Once you’ve whisked in half the sugar, add the rest in larger quantities. When all the sugar has been added, whisk the meringue back to glossy, stiff peaks, then whisk in the cream of tartar, vinegar and cornflour.
12.   Dab 4 tiny dots of meringue onto the corners of a baking sheet, then cover with the baking paper (pencil-side down). Spoon the remaining meringue into the circle and use the back of a spoon to make pillowy swirls.
13.   Transfer to the oven and reduce the temperature to 130°C/110°C fan/gas ¾. Cook for 1½ hours, then turn off the oven (don’t open the door) and leave to cool completely for 4-5 hours. Remove the meringue, carefully peel off the paper, then put on a serving plate/cake stand.
14.   Brush the inside of the cooled pavlova with the melted white chocolate (see tip) and leave to set completely.
15.   Put 100g of the strawberries and 50g of the raspberries in the small bowl of a food processor with the icing sugar and lemon juice. Whizz until smooth, then strain into a bowl (discard the seeds). Quarter the rest of the strawberries and add to the bowl with the remaining raspberries, watermelon chunks and shredded mint.
16.   For the filling, mix together the yogurt and double cream, then sweeten to taste with the icing sugar. Top the pavlova with spoonfuls of the yogurt cream, then spoon over the fruit mixture, scatter over a few mint leaves and the freeze-dried berries.

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