Individual Rhubarb Pavlovas

Lucious Rhubarb Pavlovas -7379Clouds of meringue topped with velvety fresh cream and roasted rhubarb freshly harvested from the garden, these individual rhubarb pavlovas are luscious and summery.

We timed our return to the UK perfectly, the weather has been wonderful these last couple of weeks, of which much of the time has been spent house sitting in rural Yorkshire, where an oversized rhubarb plant is threatening to take over the vegetable patch.

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Usually I stew rhubarb, in a pan over the hob, as it saves putting the oven on but I have an Aga at my disposal here, so I roasted the rhubarb instead. Roasting allows you to retain the shape of the rhubarb and also that wonderful pink colour, perfect for topping a pretty dessert.

Two of the properties we look after have a Aga and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with them over the years we’ve been house sitting, you may have noticed them in previous posts.

There is something so comforting and embracing about a kitchen with an Aga, usually a dog curled up in front of it. The warmth attracts leaners, I find myself often lent against the rail, drinking a cup of tea or reading a recipe book, getting as close to it as possible. I swear I’m cold-blooded.

For those of you who have never come across an Aga, it is a large cast iron, heat storage cooker, a stove that is always hot. The basic Aga comes with two ovens, a hot roasting oven and a gentle simmering oven, on top there is a hot plate and a simmering plate, for boiling and frying. Larger Agas have up to four ovens, all at different temperatures.

Here’s a fun infographic from Aga Living detailing the history of the Aga since its invention in the 1920s.

Aga Living Infographic

Cooking in an Aga takes a bit of practice, and a little research. I can thank Mary Berry for keeping me on track and showing how it’s done, her cookbook, The Aga Book, is full of useful information and tips.

One of the biggest things to get to grips with is the temperature, there is no temperature dial. The roasting oven is a toasty 240ºC (480ºF), which is great for joints of meat but way to high for baking. The simmering oven is just over 100ºC, perfect for meringues but too low for baking. To lower the temperature of the roasting oven, a cold shelf is slid in to cool it down to a much more cake-friendly heat, an oven thermometer comes in useful. The three and four oven Agas have a baking oven, perfectly set to 180ºC.

Agas make awesome meringues, I like my meringues to be crisp on the outside but to be a little chewy and marshmallowy inside. The Aga does this perfectly, slowly drying them out in the simmering oven. To get them really dry they can be left in the simmering oven, with the door ajar, for a few more hours, or even perched on a tea towel on the simmering plate lid.

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I’ve used the ‘hot sugar’ meringue method here, where the sugar is quickly heated up in the oven before adding to the beaten egg whites, think of it as a cross between the French and Italian meringue techniques. The hot sugar dissolves better into the egg whites.

I would recommend white caster sugar for this, as opposed to the golden kind, which I find clumps a little after heating. The white caster sugar stays fine, dissolving into the egg whites better, and also gives a whiter meringue.

By all means, use whatever method of meringue you prefer.

Individual Rhubarb Pavlovas
Meringues- hot sugar method

oven 200 C / 400 F / Aga roasting oven then drop the oven to 110 C / 220 F / switch to Aga simmering oven

large roasting tin lined with parchment, create a little lip by folding up the edges

recipe make 4 good-sized individual pavlovas

  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • 125 g caster sugar

Scatter the caster sugar over the lipped parchment in the roasting tin. Gently shake it out to cover the tin evenly. Place into the hot oven, or the floor of the roasting oven and cook for 5 mins. The sugar should be hot and use starting to melt at the edges.

Once out turn the oven down to 110 C {220 F}.

Meanwhile, place the egg whites into a spotlessly, grease-free glass or metal mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer whip up the egg whites into fairly stiff peaks.

When the sugar comes out of the oven, carefully use the parchment to pour it into a dish. Retain the parchment.

Now, use a tablespoon to add the sugar a spoonful at a time to the whipped up egg whites, continually running the mixer. Continue beating until the meringue become glossy and completely smooth.

Dust off any residual sugar from the cooled parchment and place it back into the roasting tin, which should have cooled down now.

Use a big spoon to place four mounds of meringue onto the parchment and use the back of the spoon to shape a curved hollow into each of them.

Place the meringues into the oven, now at the reduced temperature, or if you are making in an Aga, place into the simmering oven on the lowest set of runners.

Cook for around 2 hours, a modern fan oven might be quicker so check after an hour and a half, until they lift off the parchment easily, a tap on the base should sound hollow. If you want them completely dried out turn the oven off and leave them in there with the door shut. In the Aga, leave them in the simmering oven with the door slightly ajar for a few more hours.

 

Shape the meringues

Shape the meringues

Roasted Rhubarb

I’ve roasted the rhubarb with orange juice to give it a light hint of citrus. This makes double what you need for the pavlovas, keep in the fridge and serve it with custard, ice cream, rice pudding, yoghurt……

oven 200 c / 400 F / Aga roasting oven, roasting tin on lowest set of runners

large roasting tin

  • 4 or 5 lengths of rhubarb
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 250 ml {1 cup} double or whipping cream to serve

Wash the rhubarb then cut it into 2 inch lengths then place it into the roasting tin {I lined mine but it’s not necessary}.

Add the brown sugar and the orange juice and toss the rhubarb around to coat it.

Arrange the rhubarb pieces into rows, neatly side by side.

Cover the tin with foil or a baking sheet and roast in the hot oven for around 10 to 12 minutes. After that time remove the foil/baking sheet and poke a knife in to check, they should feel tender but have kept their shape.

Pop back into the oven, this time without a cover, and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes or until soft but keep your eye on them, a few minutes can turn them from neat little fingers of rhubarb to stewed rhubarb. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the rhubarb.

Allow to cool then refrigerate along with the cooking juices.

To serve

Whip the cream. Take five fingers of the roasted rhubarb, place in a bowl and mash with a fork.

Place a heaped teaspoon of the mashed rhubarb into each of the pavlovas. Dollop over it a generous spoonful of the whipped cream, be decadent here!

Use a fork to carefully place a couple of pieces of the rhubarb onto the top of the cream and drizzle over some of the lovely pink juice from the pan, then serve.

This is an impressive-looking dessert, pink and decadent. The tart rhubarb is perfectly suited to the tooth-aching sweetness of meringue in the most heavenly way.

Brought meringues would work equally well if time is short and the combination would work excellently as an Eton mess kind of dessert, simply replacing strawberries with the orange-scented rhubarb – a pink-streaked pud of broken meringue and roasted rhubarb stirred through whipped cream, a deconstructed pavlova!

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Incidentally, the first entry I ever made on this blog was a post about cooking on an Aga, Adventures in Aga Land, where I cooked flatbread on the hot plate!

Individual Rhubarb Pavlovas
Clouds of meringue topped with luscious fresh cream and roasted rhubarb. Serves 4 generously.
Print
For the meringue
  1. 2 free-range egg whites
  2. 125 g caster sugar
For the roasted rhubarb
  1. 4 or 5 lengths of rhubarb
  2. 2 tbsp orange juice
  3. 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  4. 250 ml {1 cup} double or whipping cream to serve
To make the meringues (hot sugar method)
  1. Set oven to 200 C / 400 F / Aga roasting oven and prepare a large roasting tin with parchment, create a little lip by folding up the edges.
  2. Scatter the caster sugar over the lipped parchment in the roasting tin. Gently shake it out to cover the tin evenly. Place into the hot oven, or the floor of the roasting oven and cook for 5 mins. The sugar should be hot and use starting to melt at the edges.
  3. Once out turn the oven down to 110 C {220 F}.
  4. Meanwhile, place the egg whites into a spotlessly, grease-free glass or metal mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer whip up the egg whites into fairly stiff peaks.
  5. When the sugar comes out of the oven, carefully use the parchment to pour it into a dish. Retain the parchment.
  6. Now, use a tablespoon to add the sugar a spoonful at a time to the whipped up egg whites, continually running the mixer. Continue beating until the meringue become glossy and completely smooth.
  7. Dust off any residual sugar from the cooled parchment and place it back into the roasting tin, which should have cooled down now.
  8. Use a big spoon to place four mounds of meringue onto the parchment and use the back of the spoon to shape a curved hollow into each of them.
  9. Place the meringues into the oven, now at the reduced temperature, or if you are making in an Aga, place into the simmering oven on the lowest set of runners.
To roast the rhubarb
  1. Preheat oven 200 c / 400 F / Aga roasting oven, roasting tin on lowest set of runners, you need a large roasting tin or baking tray.
  2. Wash the rhubarb then cut it into 2 inch lengths then place it into the roasting tin {I lined mine but it’s not necessary}.
  3. Add the brown sugar and the orange juice and toss the rhubarb around to coat it.
  4. Arrange the rhubarb pieces into rows, neatly side by side.
  5. Cover the tin with foil or a baking sheet and roast in the hot oven for around 10 to 12 minutes. After that time remove the foil/baking sheet and poke a knife in to check, they should feel tender but have kept their shape.
  6. Pop back into the oven, this time without a cover, and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes or until soft but keep your eye on them, a few minutes can turn them from neat little fingers of rhubarb to stewed rhubarb. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the rhubarb.
  7. Allow to cool then refrigerate along with the cooking juices.
To serve
  1. Whip the cream. Take five fingers of the roasted rhubarb, place in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  2. Place a heaped teaspoon of the mashed rhubarb into each of the pavlovas. Dollop over it a generous spoonful of the whipped cream, be decadent here!
  3. Use a fork to carefully place a couple of pieces of the rhubarb onto the top of the cream and drizzle over some of the lovely pink juice from the pan, then serve.
Notes
  1. Brought meringues would work equally well if time is short and the combination would work excellently as an Eton mess kind of dessert, simply replacing strawberries with the orange-scented rhubarb – a pink-streaked pud of broken meringue and roasted rhubarb stirred through whipped cream, a deconstructed pavlova!
Vagabond Baker http://vagabondbaker.com/

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Have you ever cooked on a Aga? or maybe you are one of the lucky ones who has one warming their kitchen right now, in which case I am very envious! Do you have any tips to share?

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By Rachel Davis

8 Responses

  1. dina says:

    they are lovely!

  2. Clare Laming says:

    I LOVE Pavlovas. This recipe looks amazing. I have never used an AGA but have experienced Pavlovas fresh from an AGA and can definitely concur that they are the best. A good meringue has to have the marshmallow texture inside, or I am disappointed. Great post, not helping my hunger though 😀

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Hi Clare! I know what you mean, those dried out powdery affairs are not the meringues I want! I rarely make meringues when I don’t have access to an Aga, they’re never quite the same.
      Sorry to make you hungry! I’ve got another post in the pipeline, a super marshmallowy meringue roulade, mind-blowing!

  3. What a dreamy recipe! I love Rhubarb! :)

    • Rachel Davis says:

      So dreamy, fluffy like clouds! I adore rhubarb, another post with rhubarb in will appear over the next few weeks xx

  4. The new site looks great Rachel! And those pavs – wow! They look delicious

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Hey there Kerry! Thank you so much! I’m still tinkering with it but it’s looking much better than the old one eh! I crave a pav pud on a blissful summer evening xxx

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