Pepperberry and Rhubarb Pavlova

The season for Pavlova is here! Why not add a touch of Pepperberry and Australian native bush spice to your traditional sweet dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 120 gm eggwhites (about 4)

  • 200 gm caster sugar

  • 2 tsp white vinegar

  • 2 tsp cornflour

  • 1 tsp ground native pepperberry

Rhubarb chips

  • Pure icing sugar, for dusting

  • 2 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin

Baked rhubarb

  • 400 gm (about 1 bunch) rhubarb

  • 125 gm caster sugar

  • Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean

  • Finely grated rind of ½ orange

  • 2-3 rose geranium leaves or rosewater to taste

  • 2 tbsp sparkling wine

Vanilla cream

  • 250 ml pouring cream (1 cup)

  • 75 gm fromage blanc (see note)

  • 25 gm caster sugar

  • Finely grated rind of ½ lemon

  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean

METHOD

  • For rhubarb chips, preheat oven to 90C or lowest setting. Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust with icing sugar. Place rhubarb slices on tray in a single layer, dust with icing sugar and dry in oven overnight. Store in an airtight container for up to a day.

  • For baked rhubarb, preheat oven to 180C. Place rhubarb in a colander and rinse under running water, shake off excess water and combine rhubarb in a bowl with sugar, vanilla seeds, orange rind and rose geranium leaves. Stand for 30 minutes for juices to seep, then spread in a baking dish, drizzle with wine and bake for 10 minutes, then check every few minutes until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart (8-10 minutes). Set aside to cool completely.

  • Preheat oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Whisk eggwhite in an electric mixer until frothy, add half the sugar and whisk on high speed until glossy (6-8 minutes), then, with motor running, add remaining sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking continuously to firm peaks. Whisk in vinegar, cornflour and pepperberry – this will loosen the mixture a little so keep whisking until you achieve firm peaks again. Rub a little mixture between your fingertips to check whether sugar has dissolved – if not, keep whisking and check again. Pile on tray in a 20cm-diameter round, bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 120C and bake until crisp but not coloured (50 minutes to 1 hour). Turn off heat and let cool completely in oven.

  • For vanilla cream, whisk ingredients in an electric mixer to soft peaks and refrigerate to chill.

  • To serve, divide pavolva among serving plates, then top with freshly whipped vanilla cream, baked rhubarb and juices, and rhubarb chips.

Originally published on Gourmet Traveller

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