Strawberry-Rhubarb PavlovaFrom The Farallon Cookbook by Mark Franz and Lisa Weiss
Meringues:6 large egg whites
Large pinch cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rhubarb Cream:10 ounces rhubarb, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Strawberry Sauce:4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons sugar
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Chef's Tip: This recipe calls for a French meringue that, when cooked in a low oven for a long period of time, hardens on the outside but stays tender on the inside. Other versions are made with Italian meringue and are baked hard all the way through, or are soft and airy like the Swiss meringue that is used to top desserts like lemon meringue pie.
To make the meringues: Preheat the oven to 200°F. Draw eight 2 3/4-inch circles on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 1/4 inch between each circle. Turn the paper over and put it on a baking sheet (the drawn circles should show through).
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the egg whites until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to high. In a slow, steady stream, add the sugar. Beat the whites until thick and glossy, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in the vanilla extract. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch star tip and fill with the meringue.
Using the drawn circles on the parchment paper as a guide, fill the circles with piped stars so they are all touching, pulling up on the bag as you're squeezing out the meringue so that the stars end up about 2 1/2 inches tall. You will end up with a solid disk (a crown) made up of piped stars. Repeat for the remaining 7 circles. Pipe the remaining meringue into small 1/2-inch-diameter stars. (These will be used in the rhubarb cream.) You will need about 40 small meringue stars.
Bake until the stars are dry, about 1 hour; they should be a little chewy in the middle. Remove the tray from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Remove the stars from the baking sheet and return the meringue crowns to the oven. Bake the crowns until dry, another 15 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes and then remove the crowns with a spatula. Set aside until ready to use, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
To make the rhubarb cream:
To make the strawberry sauce:
To serve, cut the remaining strawberries into thin slices. Set aside. Fold the meringue stars into the rhubarb cream. Divide the rhubarb cream among 8 dessert bowls, being careful to distribute the meringue stars equally. Place the sliced strawberries in a fan decoration around the rhubarb cream. Top each serving with a meringue crown. Pour strawberry sauce around each meringue.
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