Freshly grown rhubarb is a huge favourite this time of year – in more ways than one!
Not all rhubarb is created equal. While we’re all familiar with the field grown variety which comes into season in April and May, I doubt many of us have come across Gunnera Manicata, also known as the Giant Rhubarb. A native of Brazil, the largest specimen ever recorded was grown at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Dorset with a leaf measuring 11 feet across. Try getting that into your crumble – or this month’s tasty recipe from Tom Robinson, the head chef of The Forest at Feckenham…
RHUBARB & STEM GINGER PAVLOVA
For the rhubarb:
- 300g rhubarb, peeled and cut into 4cm batons
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped)
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp of grenadine or half a tsp of red food colouring
Dissolve the sugar in the water by bringing to the boil. Add the colouring and rhubarb and turn the heat down to a simmer Poach until just soft (about 4-5mins). Take the rhubarb out of the stock and leave to cool. Meanwhile, return the stock to the heat and reduce to a syrup (it may need a sprinkle more sugar).
For the stem ginger cream:
- 200ml double cream
- 25g stem ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp syrup from the ginger jar
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
Whisk all ingredients together to form soft peaks and keep refrigerated until needed.
For the meringues:
- 4 egg whites
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cornflour
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Finally add the vinegar and cornflour. Using a large serving spoon, quenelle the meringue into 4 portions on a greaseproof lined baking tray. Cook for 1 hour at 100c in a dry oven. Leave to cool before removing from baking tray.
On your serving plates place some of the cream and rhubarb next to each other and place a meringue on top. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and a little more finely chopped stem ginger.