Wednesday, 13 February 2013

RHUBARB AND CUSTARD MERINGUES

Being a huge fan of rhubarb (Yorkshire based) I’ve been thinking for a long time about how I can bring rhubarb and custard together besides from the unbeatable crumble. The final result was something completely different; custard flavoured meringues served with sticks of rhubarb and a syrup from the cooking juices. I normally avoid recipes which involve any sort of piping, excusing it as unnecessary decoration, but in reality I’m just rubbish at it. So you could probably make these look a lot better than I did. Either way, the taste is more important with the crisp outer shell of the meringue holding a gooey, custardy centre which when met with the rhubarb creates that classic flavour combination.

4 eggs whites
225g caster sugar
2 tbsp custard powder
2 sticks rhubarb
2 tbsp sugar

Makes 4

Preheat oven fan140/160c/3.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (I would recommend parchment here, I finally got hold of some in a shopping centre in Sheffield but you can order it online too).

Whisk the egg whites until deep white and silky and they form medium peaks. Little by little add the sugar, pouring in while the eggs whites are rapidly whisking. Keep the meringue whisking until it forms glossy stiff peaks. Gently fold in the custard powder until well incorporated and the meringue takes on a yellow tinge. Fill a piping bag with the meringue mixture and pipe onto the baking sheets in 4 medium sized swirls. At this stage you can really do what you want with the design or quantity though. Bake for around 40 minutes at the bottom of the oven, or until they have a hard outer shell with good colour, but still give a little when pressed. You can leave them in the oven, with the door open to cool slightly before serving.

While the meringues are still baking prepare the rhubarb. Chop each stick diagonally in 4, until you have wedges of about 10cm each. Place into a pan with water that comes about half way up the rhubarb and the sugar. Gently heat until the rhubarb just begins to break down and lose its deep red outer skin. Be careful here because you want the sticks to soft but still formed, not beginning to stew. At this stage remove the rhubarb from the pan but keep the liquid and any stringy bits which might be left. Whack up the heat and let reduce until it turns into a deep pink syrup. This is delicious poured over the meringues. Assemble the meringues by serving with 2 sticks of rhubarb and a spoonful of the sweet syrup. It’s a new way to enjoy the classic combination.
 

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