Ruddy good Rhubarb!
Now at the height of the main crop rhubarb season, I thought I could justify another delicious recipe that celebrated the beauty of this traditional British ingredient!
Although I absolutely love the acidity this rugged fruit brings to savoury dishes, rhubarb undoubtedly is best enjoyed in dessert – and it seems us Brits no how to do it!
Whether in a pie, crumble, cake or simply with custard, rhubarb’s bittersweet palate is the perfect pairing to particularly sweet ingredients such as vanilla and honey as an aid to balancing overly sweet desserts.
Its pairing with meringue is also a particular favourite of mine, and with the inspirational help of another very-british pudd, the eton mess, my latest seasonal recipe was born; Rhubarb, Elderflower and Mascarpone Eton Mess!
Elderflower is delicately sweet, and therefore the perfect liquor to gently poach and sweeten the rhubarb. Although a little premature of the fresh elderflower season, there are some great tasting elderflower cordials out there that are just the job. If you wish to stay true to the seasons, hold fire for just a couple more weeks for the hedgerow elderflower to blossom and make your own cordial to use in this recipe.
For those of you, like me, that couldn’t help themselves when it came to diving into a big bowl of sweet, crisp meringue, creamy mascarpone and softly poached, seasonal rhubarb, find the recipe below!
- 2 large egg whites
- 110g caster sugar
- 110g icing sugar
- 500g rhubarb
- 250ml elderflower cordial
- 1 orange
- 250g mascarpone
- Handful of pistachios, roughly chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 100C/ gas 1/4 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the whites in a clean bowl (that is not plastic) and beat until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add 60g of caster sugar, a spoonful at a time – allow the sugar to be fully combined in the mixture before adding more. Then add 60g of icing sugar in the same manner. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag with a round nozzle and pipe small droplets. Place in the oven and bake for 75 – 90 minutes.
- In the meantime, dice the rhubarb into 2cm cubes and place in a pan along with 200ml of cordial and the juice and zest of half an orange. Over a medium heat, poach the rhubarb until soft but still holding form. Remove half of the rhubarb from the cooking liquor using a slotted spoon and set aside. Blend the rest of the rhubarb and liquid using a stick blend before passing through a fine sieve. Return the sauce back to the pan and adding 50g of caster sugar. Allow to slightly reduce on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes, then set aside until ready to use.
- Once the merginues have hardened, remove from the oven ready for assembly. In a separate bowl, combine the mascarpone, the remaining cordial and icing sugar, and the zest of 1/2 an orange. In wide tumbler glasses, layer the poached rhubarb, mini meringues (slightly crushed), mascarpone and rhubarb sauce. Finish the layers with a little more poached rhubarb and a couple of whole meringues. Scatter over the pistachios and a little fresh mint.