Who has got lots of rhubarb this year? It’s been a fantastic season for it and my wonderful 83 year old neighbour has brought me round several carrier bags full! I have therefore created another recipe to make the most of what is in season and at it’s best and also to have a different take on how meringue is used. I used to really struggle with meringues but have managed to perfect it in the last year or so – so if this applies to you too, please do give it this recipe a go. Just remember, your mixing bowl and whisk need to be super clean, not a spot of grease or the meringues won’t work. You can always wipe your bowl around with a slice of lemon to make double sure! This recipe is great because you can make it when it suits you (maybe even make a couple if you have lots of rhubarb), then just keep it in the freezer and you’ll have a delicious, light home made dessert all ready to go “here’s one I made earlier” style! You will need three large plastic disposable piping bags and a 1cm round hole nozzle for the piping.
300 gms Egg Whites (you can buy these in a carton in good supermarkets)
600gm Caster Sugar
Rhubard & Raspberry Fool –
800gms fresh Rhubarb
50gms granulated sugar
200gms fresh Raspberries
200ml Fresh Custard
200ml Double Cream
Have three baking trays prepared, lined with baking parchment. Draw a template of a rectangle, approx 6” x 10”.
Pre-heat your oven to 200ºc. Liberally line a large roasting tray with greaseproof paper and then pour the caster sugar in to the tray and pop it in to the oven to heat the sugar through whilst you whisk your egg whites. In a clean dry bowl whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks. By the time they are ready, the sugar will be ready too. Remove the sugar from the oven and reduce the oven heat to 100ºc. Slowly add the hot sugar to the stiff egg whites a spoonful at a time, ensuring the sugar is mixed in well after each spoonful, then whisk for a further five minutes. Your white meringue should now look thick and glossy and when you rub a bit between your fingers it should be smooth, all the grains of sugar should have dissolved. If it still feels grainy, whisk it for a further 5 minutes on a high speed.
When your meringue is fully mixed get your plastic piping bag with a large round nozzle and paint lines of food colouring all the way up the inside of the nozzle and bag, around four or five lines will do. Fill your piping bag 2/3rds full with the meringue mix.
With your rectangular template under the baking parchment of your first tray, pipe lines of the meringue (almost like sticks of rhubarb) on to the parchment. Ensure that each piped line touches the last one. When you have filled the template, remove it from beneath the parchment and place it under the parchment of the next baking tray. Repeat the piping process until all three trays are piped. You may need a new piping bag for each tray, which will need to have the lines painted it and filled each time you start piping.
If you have any spare meringue, fill the piping bag and pipe some “kisses” or meringue shells of a shape you choose with the left over meringue.
Pop the piped meringue trays into the oven. Bake the rectangles for approx 1.5hrs and the kisses for approx 1hr.
Whilst the meringues are baking wash and chop up the rhubarb in to small chunks and place in a saucepan with the 50gms of sugar and 100ml water. Cook until soft then strain the juice away and allow to cool.
Whisk your double cream until it has stiff peaks then gently stir in the custard, cold rhubarb and raspberries. If you prefer your raspberries more crushed, then mix with an electric mixer – this also gives the fool and pretty pink colour.
Remove the meringues from the oven when you can tap the bottom and they sound hollow, leave to cool on a wire rack. The meringues are quite fragile at this stage so handle with care.
When the meringues are cool, carefully start your stacking. Lay on a flat surface two pieces of clingfilm which are crossed over and that you will then be able to wrap around your meringue slice to freeze. Gently place the first meringue rectangle on the clingfilm then spoon your fool on top of it to form a nice thick layer, don’t worry too much if it spills over the sides. Place the next meringue rectangle on top then another layer of fool and finally the third meringue rectangle. Any fool that has squidged out of the sides can be eased back in with a flat knife, then wrap the whole slice firmly but gently in the clingfilm and place it in the freezer.
Take the frozen slice out of the freezer around 30 mins before you want to serve it so that it can soften up to be sliced. Slice up and enjoy with a sprinkling of fresh raspberries and rose petals, delicious!
You could vary this with other fruit and colours too, maybe some purple food colouring with some blackcurrants and gooseberries, that would look fab and taste amazing too, have fun with the piping (and eating). Liz x