Pavlova with Poached Rhubarb and Berries
Named for the renowned Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the baked meringue known as pavlova makes a grand presentation but is really quite easy to prepare. Here we give the dessert a spring spin by topping it with poached rhubarb and a medley of fresh berries.
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
For the rhubarb:
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) rhubarb, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. water
- 1 Tbs. dried hibiscus (optional)
Whipped cream for serving
- Fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and/or strawberries for garnish
Preheat an oven to 275°F (135°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the meringue, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and cornstarch and continue to beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
Scoop the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into a round about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Use the back of a spoon to create an indentation in the center of the meringue. Bake until the meringue is dry to the touch, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the parchment with the meringue on it to a wire rack. When the meringue is cool to the touch, remove from the parchment and place directly on the rack.
Meanwhile, make the poached rhubarb: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rhubarb, sugar, salt, water and dried hibiscus. Bring to a vigorous simmer, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rhubarb is softened, about 10 minutes. If the rhubarb begins to stick to the pan, add more water, 1 Tbs. at a time. Remove from the heat and let the rhubarb cool to room temperature.
To assemble the pavlova, place the meringue on a serving platter. Spread the whipped cream over the center of the meringue, then spoon the rhubarb and syrup over the top. Garnish with the berries and serve immediately. Serves 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen