Chef James Carn shows us how to make the perfect Pavlova
This month I will be sharing a recipe for a very tasty, classic dessert. The Pavlova is a dessert that I have always had on my menus over various restaurants and it’s currently featuring on the menu at The View restaurant at All Saints Hotel. It is a mainstay that just transforms throughout the year with the seasons, working equally well with passion fruit, pear or as it is currently, with rhubarb and custard.
We use rhubarb from the gardens at Hengrave Hall, being grateful to have such fantastic produce grown in such close proximity to the kitchen and we are even luckier to work so closely with George, Hengrave’s on site gardener who takes pride in the quality of this ingredient.
This is a very straightforward recipe that can be executed with great success at home, and can be prepared in advance.
RHUBARB AND CUSTARD PAVLOVA
100g egg white (save egg yolks for later)
100g caster sugar
50g icing sugar
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
Whisk the egg whites and vanilla seeds to soft peaks in a stand mixer or by hand, add the caster sugar in three stages, whisking until at stiff peaks. Add the icing sugar, continue to whisk until glossy.
Spoon the meringue mix into a piping bag and pipe onto an ovenproof tray, lined with greaseproof paper, pipe even-sized amounts of meringue and with a hot spoon make a little indent in the centre of each one. Bake for 80 minutes in total, but opening the door slightly and then closing after a second every 20 minutes to allow the steam to release. You will know the meringues are cooked once they can be removed from the greaseproof paper with ease – if they stick, then cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Cool and freeze immediately until required.
500ml double cream
8 egg yolks
100g fine white Chocolate
1 vanilla pod
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until doubled in size. Heat the cream and vanilla pod on the stove to boiling point and then add to the egg yolk mix, whisking continuously as they combine.
Place the custard mixture into a heavy-based pan and cook to 800C, adding broken-up white chocolate and whisk until smooth. Remove vanilla pod, cool and leave in a fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
20g fresh ginger, grated
Chop the rhubarb into 2 inch batons and place in a deep ovenproof dish.
Boil the water, sugar and grated ginger and pour over the top of the rhubarb. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven at 1200C, cook for 30 minutes until tender and leave to cool.
To serve, place the meringue on a plate with a nice spoonful of cold custard on top, then a scoop of ice cream or sorbet on top of the custard (we use a rhubarb sorbet in the restaurant), then 4-5 batons of poached rhubarb beside the meringue.
James Carn is a local chef who can be found cooking at All Saints Hotel in Fornham, as well as Hengrave Hall